Early diagnosis – shame about the politics

Some people might suggest that its unfair to say this but the timing of the NHS England announcement of a cancer early diagnosis initiative, while welcome, has all the markings of being politically driven.

In 2007 the Cancer Reform Strategy announced NAEDI – the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative. After the change of government the group kept meeting, Cancer Research UK kept putting up funding for research into practical issues and Macmillan did its best to make people aware of the importance of early diagnosis.

The new government picked off some headlines but otherwise did nothing for over four years.

Now its election time again and guess what – new money, new priorities, new targets. This time though the government has nothing to do with it. Of course its all in the hands of the (quasi)-autonomous NHS England. Who are they kidding?

However it is very welcome.

One person deserves the greatest credit that we can give for getting it this far. Harpal Kumar is the CEO of Cancer Research UK. His personal commitment to creating change on this issue is undoubted. It dates from 2007 when Prof Sir Mike Richards asked him to chair NAEDI and he has seen it through to today. He continues in charge, it is in safe hands, things will happen.

Thank you Harpal.