IN RESPONSE to the letter ‘Backing NHS’, Solihull News, January 15, by Ed Williams, Labour parliamentary candidate, Meriden, I would like to make the following reply:
My criticism of Solihull NHS Care Trust’s delays in sending results of cervical smear tests is entirely justified: this can be a virulent form of cancer and can spread rapidly. It is essential that it is caught early. Over 1,000 woman die from cervical cancer in this country each year. Many could be saved by catching the disease earlier so we do need to prioritise test results.
The 34-year-old daughter of a friend is the victim of misdiagnosis of cervical cancer, so this is very much on my mind.
I was very surprised that Mr Williams has chosen to play politics with a matter that is of enormous concern here and throughout the country. We are in 2010: whatever medical services were or were not in place over 13 years ago is of little comfort to the women anxiously awaiting their test results now.
Britain still lags behind other countries in cancer survival rates. We need to see improvements in this and other areas of the NHS. David Cameron has made his wholehearted commitment to the NHS abundantly clear. We plan a patient-led health service and will put healthcare professionals in charge of delivering patient care. We will measure health outcomes, focus government action on improving public health and reform long-term care.
I am not responsible for the views of other politicians, even in my own party. I fully support the NHS. It is not perfect and mistakes have been made – notably in allowing it to become top-heavy with bureaucracy. I believe that the way forward is to improve the NHS and all aspects of life in this country by electing a Conservative Government at the General Election.
Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.