Does anyone ever look at the information

we painstakingly fill in in surveys? 

I do wonder

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Macmillan has just sent yet another survey for me to fill in.  Now-a-days, a major part of all their surveys asks the tick-box questions; gender (so many different boxes to tick it’s confusing) the usual one on ethniticity – or whatever – and all the other ones.

Half way through – I stopped.  And remembered.  This survey was asking all the same questions from six months ago, when they were setting up the London Cancer Community – which still hasn’t done anything.  So emailed back to say ‘”look up previous survey”.

They used to send out emails asking us to campaign on issues that were important to us;  today it’s surveys.  When Tessa Jowell made that iconic statement in The Lords about her cancer, this would have been the ideal time to mount a campaign to get public interest.  Instead they emailed back to say they were leaving this to another charity. Macmillan – why not join up with them and don’t be so arrogant!

No-one seems to value our time, but from now on, I am not going to be helpful unless asked to fill out a completely new survey with relevant questions – not those designed to ensure the computer picks up words that get funding, be it from NHS or drug companies.  It’ all a game played out using our time.  Those that tick the most boxes get more funding.

One that ticks the right boxes

When yet another survey popped into my Inbox, I was just about to press Delete – when I saw this came from  All.Can, an international organisation covering countries in Europe and Australia, and based in Canada (,  In UK this is  backed up by The Patients’ Association – and I do pay heed to them and All.Can!

All.Can are an international multi-stakeholder policy initiative focused on improving efficiency in cancer care. They politely asked “Please share your thoughts, to ensure the patient voice can be at the heart of cancer care“. I have found the Canadians not only have excellent cancer care, but in their quiet way they seem to really value patient in-put.

It definitely isn’t a NHS-backed survey, as it asks

  • if we have had cancelled appointments
  • if we were given excess medication
  • and where did we feel inefficiency in treatment!  Oh boy!  Did this resonate with me !  And inefficiency still goes on dealing with long term side effects
  • And they aren’t going to be able to sell information on as they ask “what year were you born”, not what is our D.O.B. A subtle but reassuring difference to UK’s surveys.
  • Take note pollsters – as soon as I am asked for D.O.B that is a sure give-away that info is available for sale.

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