Went to a CRUK ‘think tank’ meeting, which are always interesting. It’s comforting to know this enormous charity pays attention to patients, and what we need. Interesting cross-mix of cases, length of survivorship and backgrounds, but all united in wanting to improve treatment for next generation.

We were there to discuss patient experiences, and everyone seemed to want to improve matters. Looking around, I couldn’t help envy our American counterparts, who seem to have organised politics to suit them. Yes, the lobbying system isn’t perhaps what we would want, but boy – do they get things done. When mother had breast cancer in in 1960s, no-one talked about it. Today it’s all in the open, thanks to Estée Lauder and others campaigning like mad. In fact, I rather like the idea of those formidable American matriarchs going after Jeremy Hunt – that would scare the weasel, but they would soon have him out from behind the massive Whitehall PR teams, intent on ‘protecting’ him from the justifiably angry public. If you have ever seen the enormous team of black-suit PR women that have to accompany any Minister on their ‘fact-finding’ missions (cover up for photo-opportunities) you would understand why our unemployment figures are so low.

As Brits, we do need to get a bit of American spirit injected into our rightful campaigns for better survivorship care, and start getting together to campaign for what every other woman in Europe gets as a right. I still get furious at the attitude, shown by Andrew Lansley and now repeated by every big wig in the NHS; sweeping our concerns under the carpet, they ignore that rest of the world is not only improving cancer care, but leaping ahead of us.

Three months in hospital last year, and I was about to retire to the country – where the place I have chosen apparently has a four week waiting list, GPs make home visits and two of my Consultants have recently moved from London to the General hospital.
Visions of looking out on green fields and gardens, with no pollution, were seducing me. Until I get a frantic email to say “We need your help. The council is trying to build 15,000 houses in our area MOSTLY on green belt land. If this happens, yet another bit of our dwindling countryside will be buried in concrete,” and apparently there are no plans for extra roads, schools, hospitals etc. to service the expected 60,000 extra people.

And asked me to sign https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-the-green-belt-at-culham-from-loss-shrinkage-or-relocation-through-future-development
to save the tiny village of Culham, which will be swamped – let alone the area round about, which will affect the flood plain in the Thames Valley – and we all know what that could mean. According to locals there are plenty of brownfield sites, but the Council won’t consider these (could it be because developers won’t cough up such a large ‘community benefit’ [a.k.a. a bribe] if they are given permission to build and it’s not a greenfield site?) One can understand developers wanting to get their hands on this land, as it features in the TV series Midsomer Murders.

It seems that nowhere in Britain is safe – but if you believe, like me, that developers should use up brownfield sites, leaving the countryside to be enjoyed by everyone – and me – please could you sign this petition? Incidentally this issue is to protect your area as well because if the inspector allows change of designation use here, it will set precedent for the whole of England.

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