When the NHS is good it is fantastic. But when it isn't ...
We are very very lucky. Both of my births have been very positive and profound experiences, despite being very different. My Mam's treatment has been second to none, she cannot fault a thing. Unfortunately I am starting to see that is by no means the normal experience.
I know of three people, in three different PCTs across the country, who have persistently gone to the doctors about various symptoms, which have not been joined up, leaving a cancer diagnosis which has come far too late for the patient to be successfully treated. This is just unacceptable. Cancer is so very treatable if caught in the early stages, my Mam's story is a testament to that. There is no excuse for not investigating symptoms which may potentially be cancer at the moment they first come onto a GP's radar.
Then when a diagnosis is made in time, and treatment follows, there is still no guarantee of a smooth ride. I know of life saving operations delayed and delayed and delayed, and only time will tell if all the delays will cost a life. I know of botched operations leaving people disfigured and in pain when the family were told that would not be an issue. I know of surgeons who complete major surgery, then fly out of the country for three weeks the next day and don't even make the effort to speak to the family first.
My Mam was offered an operation date for 6 days after her diagnosis. She had visits from the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the theatre nurse within hours of coming round after her op. She was well supported and cared for by the ward nurses, the district nurses, and her own assigned Macmillan nurse. This should be the norm, not the exception.