Successive governments have begun to change the approach of the NHS from being reactive to a patients illness to being proactive and trying to prevent patients getting ill in the first place.
The major campaigns for women are cervical and breast cancer screening. I am very supportive and involved in the campaign for bowel cancer screening: it is a North East success story - as we are leading the way in this type of screening, and the Speaker was kind enough to grant me a debate on the issue last year.
More recently all members of the House attended the Speakers rooms for a Beating Bowel Cancer reception. Both Andy Burnham and the Secretary of State spoke, and there is cross party support for the Flexi Scope system that we are introducing.
However, it remains a cardinal shame that
- over 20% of women do not take up the offer of cervical or breast cancer screening
- over 40% of the men and women do not take up the offer of bowel cancer screeing
I would urge all readers to attend their appointments and take up the free tests that are available on the NHS. Do not ignore your symptoms - whether they be breast lumps or blood when you go to the loo. To die is inevitable. To die through a failure to treat a very curable disease is criminal.
The Journal did a good report of my recent meeting with the Beating Bowel Cancer Team in London: