Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sorry for not updating the Blog as much as I would have liked to over the past week, but I have had very little time. I have had to keep communication going with the people who are actually going to stand beside me tomorrow outside the Carlisle Cumberland Infirmary, and doing that via the Blog would not have been a good idea for obvious reasons.

On Friday I was filming all day, about 9 hours with BBC's 'The One Show'. We went to Martindale for most of the interview stuff and then over to the other side of Lake Ullswater at Leeming House. We then filmed back at home and for a 'Media Student' it was an amazing experience and I would like to thank Colin (Cameraman) Liz (Producer) and Joel (Presenter) for being such fantastic people to be around.

When I got home there were messages on my phone from ITV Border Television, BBC Look North, Radio 5 Live, Radio Cumbria and the local paper. Starting to get a bit overwhelming!

BUT the biggest surprise was the message on my phone from one of the Directors of the NHS Trust offering 'talks'. Why? Well last week and for the past months not a soul would speak to me or the press, we just got 'no coment' every time. I even got a letter from the Trust's solicitors threatening legal action if I stepped out of line, and telling me that my Blog was being monitored. 

So what's changed since last week? 3 things!

1. Both of our local MP's, John Stevenson and Rory Stewart have been fully behind me. Rory Stewart could not believe that this situation was handled the way it was, threatening a cancer patient with legal action to try and shut him up for wanting to improve his hospital. I still can't come to terms with it. Had the same situation occurred with a National Supermarket, they would have had it sorted the next day.

2. The protest outside the hospital wasn't a big deal for the NHS Trust at first, they could let it pass by and stick to 'no coment' because that had always worked for them before. But now it was being covered by 3 TV stations, one of those being BBC's 'The One Show'.

3. To feature the whole story on BBC's 'The One Show' at 7pm one evening this coming week, was the absolute ace for our campaign, without which the Trust could have continued to say 'no coment' and get away with it.

So, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust wanted to talk...Should we call off the Demo?

This was suggested to me in a phone call from the Police while I was enjoying the Skelton Show yesterday. They said that the Trust had asked them, to ask me if now that they had agreed to open talks, would I consider calling off the demonstration planned for Monday. 

I felt very angry, because all I have ever wanted was to talk about some simple low cast improvements at our hospital, but they would not listen, even after a 7 month attempt at an action plan for change which was deemed weak by our local support group. Helen Kelly from the NHS Trust, came to a North Cumbria Prostate Cancer Support Group meeting (I am the Treasurer), and was told by only 1 out of the 25 Prostate Cancer Sufferers in the room that he had been happy with his overall experience. Nothing happened as a result!

After an exchange of calls between myself, The Trust and the Police, I told the Police that we would limit the amount of protesters to less than 12. This was to allay the fears of the Trust that too many people demonstrating at the entrance of the hospital could cause a problem with access for ambulances and other patients. 

So the Demo goes on, but only show up if you have contacted me first because I don't want to break our side of the deal and go over on numbers. 

THANK YOU again everyone for your fantastic support!

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