With the Government investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, Diana Blackmun, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire welcomed a group of local residents to share their ideas on ways the NHS could improve services for cancer patients in Central Bedfordshire.

Discussions took place around diagnosis and treatment; ease of finding information and advice; prevention and/or early intervention; ongoing care and support and improving support for cancer survivors. Comments included:

I cannot fault the treatment pathway I underwent, in both Dunstable General Hospital and Tertiary Centre

“watching someone with a learning disability become very ill, before the medical profession took the care workers’ concerns seriously and do tests,  which finally identified advanced cancer”

“human care is missing – process in/out/off you go”

“every person I spoke to said I needed help and in the end, I did get some counselling. Then she said we offer this from diagnosis and I was so shocked.”

“there is probably a lot of written information but also need practical support”

“screening stopped at 75 years and only if you requested after that”

“GPs to be more aware of the various symptoms of cancer and not be afraid of using the ‘C’ word”

“referral from GP to chest clinic, to gastroenterologist, to surgeon at Tertiary Centre and subsequent Botox!! – Excellent!!”

“identify someone that the parent/family can call upon for advice/support/ assurance/emotional support throughout the journey”

All of the feedback from this focus group, the general focus group in March, and the upcoming Mental Health focus group will be included in our report to Healthwatch England in June.

What would you do to improve services for those with a long-term health condition in Central Bedfordshire? You still have time to have your say: