Talk about ‘re-inventing the wheel’
One-stop shops for diagnosis being rolled out by NHS
Surely the Biter Bit – when the ex-Minister of State for Health, Andrew Lansley (er- he was made a Lord for ‘services to health) admits that his cancer wasn’t caught early enough because an intended diagnosis programme that he had announced, was cut short. Currently one wonders why Public Health England is wasting yet more time and money in rolling out, yet again, more plans for early diagnosis. Will these falter through lack of funding?
Early Diagnosis systems have been in operation across the world for years in other countries, yet we just don’t seem to get it together, and have easily the worst statistics in our world.
When the Royal Marsden Hospital in London opened its Rapid Diagnostic Unit in front of a large audience, they made a bit thing of this meaning patients would wait no more than 14 days for an appointment (that’s working days – so could mean three weeks wait in total).
At the Opening I asked the Chairman when was it going to get down to the usual 3 – 5 days wait, as happened in Europe. She slapped me down. claiming that a 2-week wait was ‘perfectly acceptable’.
In the loo afterwards, I heard her and a friend come in, chatting together. “Interesting question that journalist asked. When I thought I had a lump I phoned X straight away, and he told me to come in next day – but I didn’t sleep all night worrying’.
So we can worry for days and that’s acceptable – but she had a dreadful time whilst she waited overnight for her diagnosis!
However, Cally Palmer, CEO of the Marsden and National Director for cancer at NHS England, tells us the new centres could play a key role in improving diagnosis and treatment. She obviously didn’t pay much attention when her hospital, the Marsden, opened its Rapid Diagnostic Centre. Perhaps she should put her own house in order?
Bowel cancer has hit the Minister
When La La Lansley was Minister; he would stand in front of Press Conferences washing his hands in indecision when asked questions as to why it took so long to be diagnosed. But if he, on his £305 allowance a day, couldn’t afford (or was too mean) to go privately to get an earlier diagnosis, there isn’t much hope for the rest of us. He admits he had doubts and thought he needed earlier tests than offered by Public Health England, so why didn’t he just go off and pay for them, like so many of us do?
There seems a reluctance to take charge of our own health, but European friends say when faced with a similar situation, they would just get on with it, and then make a fuss after they had the diagnosis.
What should we do?
Good health is vitally important to all of us. It would seem the most sensible course of action is to go off to a good private hospital and pay for necessary checks. When I did this, the doctor examining me said I needed a mammogram; and said they could do it at his hospital, but I would have to pay. I had an idea. At home I phoned the local NHS hospital that did mammograms, asked if they had had a cancellation, and was told “yes, one at 3.30 this afternoon”. So off I went, and the rest became history – but I got an early diagnosis which probably made treatment a whole lot easier. And no anxious sleepless nights.
And it cost me much less than a pair of shoes for the consultation with a very helpful and thorough private doctor, who set me early on the right path.
Incidentally Beating Bowel Cancer has done a huge amount to help people be aware and how to get checked out. Their Helpline is really helpful and sympathetic.
Contact them: beatingbowelcancer.org