Hospitals there for minor illness

SIR – I was thoroughly disgusted to read Barbara Follett s comment in the September 14 issue of The Comet that hospitals are meant to treat the very sick people – not minor conditions – not even chemotherapy. Four years ago, as an NHS patient, I was treat

SIR - I was thoroughly disgusted to read Barbara Follett's comment in the September 14 issue of The Comet that hospitals are meant to treat the very sick people - not minor conditions - not even chemotherapy.

Four years ago, as an NHS patient, I was treated for cancer in the Lister Hospital and thankfully did not need chemotherapy, however I did need radiotherapy, but it was not available anywhere near Stevenage. The only hospitals I was offered as an NHS patient were Addenbrookes in Cambridge or Mount Vernon, and even then I was going to have to wait at least 20 weeks before treatment could begin in either hospital.

I was extremely fortunate in being able to receive private treatment almost immediately in Harley Street, where my oncologist, who lives in this area, told me that our local hospitals all have the equipment to carry out radiotherapy treatment, but do not have the properly trained nurses to be able to treat patients. I believe that the treatment of all cancer patients whether with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, is just one area which the Government should be looking at improving, as in most cases prompt treatment can improve the quality of life of the patient and result in a complete cure.

To suggest that cancer is only a minor condition is very wide of the mark and not helpful to the many sufferers and their families. I only hope that Barbara Follett will never have to hear a doctor tell that she has the 'Big C.' For me, and I am sure, for others, it was like a punch in the solar plexus.


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MARGARET SMITH

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