Cornwall Daffodils


In has to begin at home

From time to time, I become involved with local charities, because it's what one does being part of the community, and help in a small way by writing press releases for fundraising events. It's quite staggering how many charities are actually 'home grown', with huge amounts being raised to set up and support patients and families who are affected by cancer in Cornwall. I'm currently working on a piece with the headline, 'Team up for the Lizard Relay for Life', that I'll be sending to the local media in the hope coverage for a planned event that will happen in the summer for Cancer Research UK.

There has been much in the local news regarding the care for cancer patients in Cornwall, with the threat of services being moved out of the county to conform to national guidelines, with surgery for certain cancers being performed at designated centres of excellence. In March, 2009 there was a debate in which medical experts were divided over the centralistion of services in the West Country, with the proposed transfer from Treliske to Derriford of patients with upper gastro-intestinal cancer and some complex gynaecological cancers being treated at Treliske and Exeter, not in Plymouth.

Regarding the GI patients, in spite of campaigners fighting a vigorous battle against the move, claiming that excellent services are already being offered at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) and a former chairman stating that the community of Cornwall had not had it's chance to take part in proper consultation, some patients are already having to travel to Plymouth for surgery. After two years, campaigners and the 32,000 people who signed a petition to keep services in Cornwall, have won a landmark victory with the Health Secretary ordering a full investigation for an independent review. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel will report to Andy Burnham, who will make the final decision at a later date.

The unique nature of delivering healthcare in Cornwall makes it a special case. Centres of excellence are sensible in big cities, however, we live in isolated communities, involving a 200 mile round trip to Plymouth for those who live on the extremities. The distress and worry for families with someone who is sick has to be acknowledged and this seems evident by the centres that are here as a result of local fundraising where needs have been recognised, addressed and provided by generous people in the county.

The Sunrise Appeal built a new oncology unit at Treliske, the Precious Lives Appeal is well on the way to opening the Little Harbour hospice, costing over £5 million and will welcome families in 2011. The Mermaid Centre provides a one-stop, clinical diagnostic service for breast cancer where "women have access to a top class service to match the best offered anywhere in the world". After ten years, and still hugely funded by donation, the unit now offers pioneering techniques of reconstruction. Cornwall was the first county in the UK to have an Air Ambulance and I am very proud to have been included with this venture at the time of its conception!

I ask myself, if women have to come all the way from Devon to be treated for gynaecological surgery at Truro and the threatened move from Truro to Derriford for patients with GI cancer becomes a reality, is this a stealthy way of the 'powers that be' in the NHS attempting to squeeze another charity out of the hard pressed county?

Cornwall can't respond to national guidelines, even if these do improve the patients' outcome, simply because Cornwall isn't the rest of the country; look on a map, is there anywhere else that is geographically more difficult to access on mainland Britain? For this reason, care has to be holistic and being with loved ones at a time of crisis is vital, this is apart from the expense and that emergency services are already centralised.

All of which brings me back to my press release! The Lizard Relay for Life is the first to be held in this part of Cornwall and is a 24 hr event taking place on 19th June to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, it's taking an enormous amount of organisation and we are looking for teams to participate and entertainers with generous souls, i.e. free, to make the day go with a swing; to date, we've a samba band, a troupe of belly dancers and a heavy metal band! Anyone interested in getting involved - please contact me or Thelma Holland

email to a friend Email this page to a friend

Home | About Us | Previous | Ramblings | Contact | What You Say | Calligraphy | Links | Copywriting | Sitemap