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Cancer! An Expert Tells The NHS Failure

(30 Posts)
Anniel Thu 09-Nov-23 03:23:38

This article is by Karol SIkora, a leading Cancer specialist in the NHS. I am not the only Gran to lose a beloved husband or other dear one to this dreadful disease so I read it with great interest. I hope you will all read it and shake your heads. I note he does not blame all the problems on the Tories!!preferred/0/package/1511/pub/1511/page/50/article/NaN

V3ra Thu 09-Nov-23 03:37:19

Wow.... 😥
Thank you Annie1

fancythat Thu 09-Nov-23 06:59:11

Though most wont be surprised by most of that.
Good to have some internal details.

Threads start on here sometimes by how good parts of the NHS are. This shows the other side.

I started a thread, which partly included where government money can be saved. This gives a glimpse with some details.
[I am meaning there are savings to be made in the NHS[just one part of government expenses]. Repeat across most or all sectors.
Money which is needed in even other areas of the same sectors. often, ironically. And sadly.
Like others, I have watched as we go down international medical league tables.
Some lives are very sadly, being unnecessarily lost.

BigBertha1 Thu 09-Nov-23 07:16:32

Thank you for sharing this very sad article. I'm afraid it is sadly the position many clinicians have been discussing for a number of years now and it's worsening daily.

Calipso Thu 09-Nov-23 08:15:06

I wasn't sure that I wanted to read the original article.

Less than a fortnight ago one of daughters went to the GP with some vague but worrying symptoms. He was thorough, sent her for appropriate investigations and made a review appointment. In less than a week she had a cancer diagnosis, had had a kind and sensitive phone call from her cancer specialist outlining what would happen next. This week she has had PET/CT scan, biopsy and further blood tests plus a long and helpful meeting with one of the clinical nurse specialists who will be involved in her care.

All this in less than a fortnight
A week today she has an appointment with the multidisciplinary team to review all the results and to agree the most appropriate treatment plan involving chemotherapy. The sheer speed with which all this has been put in place is impressive and scary in equal measure.

So here's the thing: I can be a fierce critic of the NHS and truly believe that while much of what it does is excellent, a great deal more simply doesn't meet public expectations. I don't have answers but I do believe that it needs a total re-think.
I did read the article, it really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

But right now, for our family, our local Oncology unit is shining a beacon of hope and confidence that our beautiful girl will be made well again.

karmalady Thu 09-Nov-23 08:19:29

NHS cancer care has also been a beacon for my neighbour who was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, that was three years ago and he is now very well indeed and gets out and about a lot. He looks very well, none of that cancer colour any more. He has had fantastic speedy treatment from the nhs

Grannynannywanny Thu 09-Nov-23 09:39:10

I’m so sorry to read of your daughter’s diagnosis Calipso. It’s good to hear she has received such prompt attention from our NHS . Wishing her well in her treatment and I hope she’s soon returned to good health 💐

MaizieD Thu 09-Nov-23 09:52:59

Sikora is a highly controversial figure and a well known opponent of the NHS ethos. He supported the disastrous reversion to the 'herd immunity' theory which led to even more deaths in the second wave of covid 19 than in the first.

I prefer not to read anything by him as I doubt his objectivity.

Calipso Thu 09-Nov-23 09:54:24

Thank you for your kindness, it helps so much flowers

vintage1950 Thu 09-Nov-23 09:57:13

flowers Calipso, best wishes for your daughter as she starts her treatment.

maddyone Thu 09-Nov-23 10:11:09

Calipso I echo the thoughts of others. I hope your daughter is returned to good health very soon.

annsixty Thu 09-Nov-23 10:30:04

In 1999 November I found a breast lump.
I was going to Antigua on the 15th to visit my D and 8 month old GS.
My GP referred me to the Nightingale hospital in Manchester but told me to go on holiday.
I returned on November 30th was seen at the clinic on December 1st had mammogram and biopsy.
Dec 8th BC confirmed.
Operated on December 15th, home on December 22nd.
5 weeks radiotherapy late Feb and March.
7 years Anastrozole (sp)
I hope very sincerely this wonderful timescale is soon restored.
So little time to worry and fret.
Calipso very very best wishes to your D, you and all your family.

growstuff Thu 09-Nov-23 12:15:44


Sikora is a highly controversial figure and a well known opponent of the NHS ethos. He supported the disastrous reversion to the 'herd immunity' theory which led to even more deaths in the second wave of covid 19 than in the first.

I prefer not to read anything by him as I doubt his objectivity.

I agree. He owns a company selling cancer care with expensive resources. He's been trying for a long term to win NHS contracts. Without significant extra financing , this would mean that money would need to be diverted from elsewhere.

Calipso Thu 09-Nov-23 14:40:23

Thank you to all for your kindness. It helps more than you'll ever know.

M0nica Fri 10-Nov-23 13:48:40

I would cross-reference you to the thread I started recently on the OECD report on the health systems in its 38 members, where the UK comes high in per capita expenditure, but low in beds per 1,000, the number of MRI, CT and PET equipment we have and the low pay of our nurses.

I suspect this report triggered Sikora's article as it quotes figures from the OECD report. he may have a view that some people dislike, but the OECD figures are damning.

growstuff Fri 10-Nov-23 14:11:33

I suspect his article is triggered by the liquidation of Rutherford Cancer Centres, which Sikora founded. He's been trying to get his foot into the NHS's door for ages.

The centres do have state of the art diagnostic equipment, but they don't do treatment. What that means is that people pay to find out they have cancer, which causes a log jam in the NHS (unless people can fund their own treatment).

Unless the NHS has more funding for cancer, it has to divert funding from other illnesses, in which Sikora has no interest.

Imperial College had to stop Sikora from calling himself a professor of oncology and he holds controversial views such as considering giving younger patients priority for expensive drugs. He does not agree with the principles of the NHS. I can't take anything he writes very seriously.

mrswoo Fri 10-Nov-23 14:35:17

Calipso it sounds as if your daughter is receiving the very best of NHS care. Best wishes to her, to you and your family.

I am currently undergoing cancer treatment having been diagnosed earlier this year. I have had wonderful "joined up" treatment and care from the NHS from day one. I'm afraid Mr Sikora has something of an axe to grind. I recently read an article by him which was so far removed from my own experience that it served only to upset me and make me anxious. For that reason I shan't bother to read this one.

paddyann54 Fri 10-Nov-23 14:49:12

Iwent through a really bad patch this time last year .I saw my GP she sent me to the optician that afternoon and I had a brain scan the next day ,In her words she just wanted to be sure t was nothing sinister,It wasn't .In May I saw a gynaecologist within days of reporting a bleed to the gp ,I've been very lucky our NHS has never let me down .Waiting times here show that @12% wait more than 4 hours to be seen treated and in a bed or sent home .I've never been in an A and E that took that long ...but I've never been late nights at weekends when ts full of drunks !! That might be where the long waits occur

M0nica Fri 10-Nov-23 20:09:39

i wish all those who have had fabulous and wonderful treatment from the NHS would show a bit of empathy for those of us whose experience is not so fortunate.

I fully agree that the NHS isn't all bad. The treatment DD had after her road accident, treatment that went on for over 5 years, was generally excellent. Likewise the response to DH's heart attack and the operation that followed, but they are the only two lights in a pattern of generally poor to non-existent treatment and on one occasion, life threatening neglect. DD ended up on the critically ill list, as a result of her GP's carelessness, which the surgery then tried to hide by not sending her to hospital for emergency treatment.

growstuff Fri 10-Nov-23 20:27:45

What would be good if you could come up with some practical ideas for sorting the problems.

I don't know how many threads there have been on the same theme and the same things are always said.

Calipso Fri 10-Nov-23 20:36:13

I'm not sure how to respond to your post @Monica

In the face of devastating and life changing news which we are still trying to comprehend, it has actually made me quite afraid at the rapid sequence of events that I outlined because it tells me this is very bad news indeed.
If you actually read my initial post you will notice how I said that I'm not the biggest fan of much that is happening in the NHS. If you feel that I was somehow 'crowing' you are much mistaken. Please do tell me how you wish me to 'express empathy' to you and to others that have had difficult experiences.

growstuff Fri 10-Nov-23 20:51:56

Calipso I really do feel you after your news. I really wouldn't worry too much about the speed at which things are moving. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2022. It turned out to be not so straightforward and it was six months before I finally had my op. Just after that, my sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram. Hers was still very small and it was straightforward. She had her op within three weeks and radiotherapy a couple of weeks later.

There's no point telling you not to worry, but my experience (and that of my sister) of oncology units has been excellent. I think most cancers are so common that pathways in individual hospitals have on the whole been sorted out.

Iam64 Fri 10-Nov-23 21:03:11

Thanks to posters who clarified the context of this article.

My husband’s progress from slight occasional stomach discomfort to devastating metastasised stage 4 cancer, took 6 months. Bloods/scans of abdomen/kidneys all clear. The gastric specialist arranged a torso scan, 3 months after the first referral, after which he expected to discharge

A series of scans and invasive investigations followed. He did a 10 mile walk the day before being shown the results - stage 4 mets in lungs, bone, ribs, hips and brain and blood.
Extensive investigations and pathology eventually confirmed the original kidney cancer had been washed away by his immune system - kidney scans all clear. Kidney cancer travels to lungs, bones, brain and more.

He died as a result of 3 strokes in 3 days, the last one catastrophic. The strokes were caused by the radium treatment that successfully shrank or stopped the growth of the brain tumours. He’d elected to have the treatment, knowing strokes a possible side effect.
He was also given fortnightly infusions which stopped or shrunk the cancers in his bones and body.
So, the best of treatment from the Christie, Manchester’s cancer hospital. The best of care in the stroke unit at Royal Salford Hospital. A very aggressive cancer that wasn’t identified because it was symptom free.

Calipso Fri 10-Nov-23 21:11:57

Thank you for your reassuring words growstuff, I'm not by nature a worrier but it's hard to contemplate what she is going to have to face in the months ahead. I'm glad that your experiences and those of your sister have been positive.

growstuff Fri 10-Nov-23 21:31:25

I didn't always feel positive about it Calipso. There were times I just wept, but the staff in the hospital were always reassuring. The hospital has an online messaging system, so I could ask questions whenever I wanted and usually received a response within hours.