Boy, have I had a busy few weeks! I’ve had scans, appointments, been to the Houses of Parliament and even returned to work, so I thought I would share what’s been happening in my world.
Macmillan Question Time
I went along to this event which was hosted at The Houses of Parliament. Well, what a day! There was a panel who were answering questions from cancer patients, carers and volunteers etc. The panel included the following:
Ciarán Devane – CEO Macmillan (and chair of the event)
Jane Maher – Macmillan Chief Medical Officer
Andy Burnham MP – Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Paul Burstow MP – Lib Dem former Health Minister
Jon Baron MP – Conservative Chair of The All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer
As a reminder, Macmillan is calling on all parties to:
– deliver cancer outcomes that match the best in Europe
– ensure all patients are treated with respect and dignity and that staff are supported to do this
– ensure that everyone at the end of their life are given free social care and for patients to spend their final days in a place of their choosing.
What happened on the day
Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve attended an event like this so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It literally was a….question time. People could ask questions and the panel would answer with their opinions.
Here are a few snippets of what the panel agreed on. Macmillan will publish the official ‘minutes’ from the day shortly.
End of life care
– we should allow people to die where they want to. In order to do this we must improve communication and processes within the health sector
– we need to understand why we are not diagnosing early enough. Is this across the country or in certain areas? Areas should see their performance and successes of referrals. Thankfully, these stats will soon be available.
– we need to look at a system for GP’s that flag when people have had a repeat issue and allow GP’s to approve immediate referrals to ‘jump queues’ and/or conduct basic tests to eliminate cancer diagnoses
Improve patient experiences
– utilise data from the patient survey to look at areas that need improving but to also look at areas which score highly and look at how we can share best practice to ensure consistency
– invoke a clear and independent complaints procedure which removes the NHS and allows non biased resolutions
Quality of life and recovery
– more people are surviving cancer. That’s a fact. How do we support people after cancer?
– we need to get the nation active!
– all patients to have a care plan which is sent to the GP to ensure a smooth care transition from Oncologist Teams
– this needs to be reviewed. Is it serving it’s purpose?
– we need to do more to help patients to return to work and ensue that we are not discriminated against
The biggest learning for me
Honestly, I have never understood how politicians can affect how cancer is treated. I was really surprised at how passionate the MP’s all were about improving the care we receive and about improving survival rates – I mean come on, we are one of the most developed countries in Europe yet we have one of the poorest survival rates for cancer diagnoses.
The panel were truly inspirational to listen to and what shocked me even more, was learning that there was a cross party group which is committed to improving care and the journey for cancer sufferers.
Back to work
I have survived my first week back at work. Well, three short days….! I am doing a phased return and have really enjoyed being back. I haven’t even missed the trashy day time TV….I’ll see if I still think that in a few weeks!
Well, have a great weekend people and I’ll update soon