Sheila Hancock Joins Chiswick Patients and Carers

To call on MPs to end postcode lottery in brain tumour care

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Patients and carers from Chiswick, including actress Sheila Hancock and resident Grace Connell, called on MPs to sign up to minimum standards which would put an end to the postcode lottery in brain tumour care.

A five year delay in the implementation of improvements in outcomes for people with brain and other tumours has led to a 'postcode lottery' of treatment, rehabilitation and care across the country. Therefore at this week's lobby of Parliament 200 patients, carers, charities and medical professionals asked MPs to sign up in support of the Guidance and make sure the guidelines are not lost in the wider NHS reforms.

28 year old Chiswick resident Grace Connell, representing The Astrofund and Brain Tumour Research Campaign, said: “We are calling on MPs not to forget brain tumours and to ensure that no-one misses out on the best standards of care. It would be appalling if, just as the government is about to solve this problem, the progress they promised is lost. When it comes to brain tumours lives can be on the line and further delays to implementation would be unforgivable.”

Sheila Hancock, Actor, Author and Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, whose grandson was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of four said: “It is terrible to watch a grandchild go through the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumour, to see both your child and her child suffering. You feel so helpless. We were incredibly lucky, Jack now lives a normal healthy life. It is also tragic to learn that so many people with this disease may not have been receiving the care they deserve because of delays in implementing the NICE Guidance. It would be unforgivable if, on the eve of some genuine steps forward which would guarantee uniform standards in brain cancer care, the progress was lost in the name of NHS reform."

80,000 people have been diagnosed with a brain tumour in the five years since National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) advice was published and these figures may be as much as twice as large if secondary cancers in the brain are included.

Campaigners say that many of these patients are at risk of suffering from a reduced quality of life and a worse survival outcome if NICE Guidance isn’t fully implemented without further delay.

March 29, 2011