Cancer is, all too sadly, something that every family in Yorkshire will have personal experience of, with one in two people now diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.
Nearly everyone will have lost a loved one to this increasingly ubiquitous disease that so often takes people away in the prime of their lives, leaving a hole in their families that can never be filled.
As such, the news in The Yorkshire Post today that health chiefs have been forced to delay critical plans to improve cancer care in the region after NHS funding for key projects was axed will hit home everywhere in the region.
It is ironic that the funding shortfall has come about as a result of budget penalties of millions of pounds to local services for failing to hit waiting time targets to treat the disease.
Whilst it is obvious that trusts should be encouraged to improve performance against waiting time targets for cancer treatment, it appears short-sighted in the extreme that the current system of financial punishment results in projects to diagnose cancer in an earlier and faster manner being put on hold .
The ultimate losers are the blameless patients and their families who have no control on whether trusts meet targets, but are the ones losing out on potentially life-saving services like new lung checks.
That projects are being postponed absolutely undermines the Government’s supposed commitment to the NHS: an urgent rethink on the sanctions is required with cancer treatments being ringfenced from cuts – the disease is hard enough to tackle effectively without such unnecessary obstacles.