Is it 'absolute madness' to scrap Primary Care Trusts? Cancer Charities seems to think so.
The problem is that GPs will be expected to know as much as the local Trusts about what services are available to cancer patients and where in addition to everything else they do. The Cancer Charities fear that cancer treatment will get worse and patients will die earlier.
The issue is important because it is well-recognised the people are too often diagnosed late in the UK. The government’s own estimate is that 10,000 people die each year because of late diagnosis. This is a massive figure and there is a real problem here.
Whether or not the Cancer Charities are right (and I fear they are) improving diagnosis for cancer patients must be a priority.I deal daily with claims for people who are not only struggling with the effects of cancer themselves but – to rub salt in the wound – know that things might have been better but for mistakes in their care. Within the last year I have resolved claims for a woman who developed cervical cancer after her smear was misinterpreted, a man whose wife died of lung cancer which was missed on an x-ray and another man whose wife’s melanoma (skin cancer) was missed.
I am currently working on cases to do with mismanagement of bowel, prostate and skin cancer. Each of these stories is a tragedy not just for the people concerned but for their families. The fact that these cancer victims make up a substantial proportion of my day’s work underlines for me quite how important this issue is. Will the government’s proposals make things better or worse? Only time will tell but there is a lot at stake and they need to get this right.
Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.