CCGs in Manchester suggest if they extend  waiting times for operations, some patients will get better whilst waiting, so won’t need surgery after all.

If you are a Mancunian, this is a really comforting thought, as you hobble around in pain.

So latest advice from Prof. Karola Sikora, world-renowned cancer specialist, is timely

Image result for Karol Sikora royalty free image  Sikora  has worked in medicine for 40 years, originally in the NHS,  then in a senior job in the World Health Organisation, and now privately.  Often quoted on new initiatives for cancer treatment, he is passionate about better care for patients.  And in his book, that means no unnecessary waiting for treatment.

Now he has written a book, “The Street-wise Patient’s Guide to Surviving Cancer” in which he warns patients that, contrary to what they think, the NHS is not there to help individuals, and they cannot simply trust their doctors and medical team to ensure that they get the best available treatment.  In other words it is up to the patient to ensure they get the best treatment possible for THEM – don’t sit back and expect your GP to do this for you.

If you are a patient, you either make a fuss when things don’t go well (what you should do, according to senior Consultants).

Or take the consequences.

So here is some of Karol Sikora’s advice to get the best care for you: (with some comments from me)

  1. Learn as much as possible about YOUR cancer.  He advises browsing American websites to see what they advise. Start-up list on  or see
  2. Request copies of scans and tests.  Then you have them when the NHS IT system doesn’t work.  Bet some patients wished they had them when the  NHS IT system went down recently!
  3. Negotiate for best treatment – this might mean asking to be referred to another hospital.  It’s YOU we are talking about and ‘hospital targets’ often aren’t working for you. Your GP will want you to go to their preferred hospital, but this may not be the right one for YOU.  Stick you toes in and INSIST – you have the right. .
  4. Work out a treatment ‘diary’ – and if appointments fall behind ask your Team to sort this out.  Don’t be afraid to chase up people/depts, as the NHS is extending time between appointments as a way of cost cutting.
  5. Learn names of Receptionists and Consultant’s PA – and thank them for their help.  Give them flowers, a home-made cake or something so they remember you.  Then when things go wrong you can go direct to them; it is surprising how helpful they can be, particularly in getting you moved up to the top of the appointments list.
  6. Always see same doctor or consultant.  Talking to French doctors (their cancer care is acknowledged as best in world) they were horrified at the thought of ‘their’ patients being seen by someone else.  They say you need continuity.  When NHS nurses try to shove me in to see another doctor in Clinics, I say politely that I have come to see ‘Dr. X…’ and will wait until they are free.  They soon learnt I won’t be fobbed off.

Take note of comment from admired medical writer:

“As is his perfect, democratic right, the Chancellor has determined that he will balance the books and accumulate a £10bn surplus by 2020.  In consequence he is reducing borrowings, realigning taxes and cutting public expenditure.”  Roy Lilley.  
                                                                                                                                                                Begging the question, why does the Govt. need to save money on the NHS?  
Whatever –  we have to realise there are going to be massive cuts in the NHS. Just make sure it isn’t your care that loses out.
 Kris Hallenga, founder of charity CoppaFeel says, “You think there is a clear road map .  No-one tells you how pro-active you have to be”.
As a noted Oncologist told me, “those who take control of their care will have a better outcome”.
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