Thursday, 30 June 2011
This is the information that we will be handing out at our demonstration on Monday, kindly and very accurately composed by my dear friend Sue...
We are demonstrating peacefully today in order to draw attention to the appalling way some cancer patients are treated at the hands of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust. Our aim is not to disrupt, simply to make sure that everyone gets the treatment they deserve.
All cancer patients must be seen within 2 weeks of visiting their GP, and treatment must start within 2 months; many hospitals have been managing to treat within 45 days. It took this hospital 4 months before I finally decided I had had enough, and went elsewhere for treatment. All hospitals are not born equal, and if you want the best treatment, I advise you to do your research. You are entitled to be treated anywhere in the country under the Choose & Book system.
The hospital needs to find funds that will enable staff to provide information to its patients as and when they require it. I couldn’t get an answer from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, nor from the Specialist Nurse, nor even my Consultant; they don’t have the resources to even pick up the phone. Information is the only tool a cancer patient has in their battle to come to terms with their illness and how it might impact their lives.
When things go wrong, which I recognise that they will from time to time, the Trust needs an entirely open system that will allow them to discuss problems with patients, and make changes where appropriate. No cover ups, no whitewash. I was threatened with legal action if I chose to speak out against them; hardly appropriate for someone who is still engaged in the biggest battle I will probably ever face.
I am here today to invite them to do just that, and bring the discussion into the public arena, where it firmly belongs.
The Trust must be approachable and easily accessed by the entire community that it is entrusted to serve; and transparent in all it’s dealings.