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Are private contracts the solution to NHS cancer care?

With recent discussion that cancer care on the NHS could be becoming privatised in the near future, the ongoing debate of public or private healthcare has been brought up once more.  The NHS services currently on offer have been criticised in the past after those individuals who had used them felt they had become lost in the system. Previous cancer patients have complained of having to repeat their symptoms and conditions multiple times in their GP appointments, without getting help or advice where it’s needed.

Are private contracts the solution to NHS cancer care?

Image Source: Mirror

In the case of Samina Chaudhry, a young mother of 27, a lump in her breast was dismissed more than once over a two-year period by NHS professionals. After two years of repeated appointments in both hospitals and through her GP, a biopsy revealed breast cancer. Unfortunately by the time Samina was diagnosed with cancer, despite treatment the cancer had already spread, eventually resulting in her death leaving behind a husband and two young children. Cases of this nature happen far too frequently in the NHS, and are often brought to the forefront when the families affected seek compensation, as Andrea Rusbridge, a Solicitor at Access Legal comments, ‘This was a tragic case that should not have happened. If Samina had been taken seriously at the outset and a follow up biopsy been taken she would have in all probability, been here now.’

With so many individual cases of cancer being put through the system, all with varying severity, the question of whether private and more personalised healthcare is more beneficial is a prevalent topic. Several private healthcare firms have shown an interest in providing a contracted deal to offer cancer care. This method would aim to satisfy the patients on a personalised level and hopefully make for a smoother treatment procedure to catch any symptoms of the illness before they develop, and avoid patients becoming overlooked due to the sheer volume of health complaints.

As it stands, the NHS care on offer risks being left in favour of the private healthcare option as the volume of recent misdiagnoses and hospital indignity - as in the case of last year’s Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal – have upset and alienated existing patients, before contracts to move into private healthcare are even signed off. With NHS care suffering on the whole, especially in the area affected by last year’s scandal, privatising cancer care could just be the solution to right the wrongs that have become so prevalent in recent news.