Here in eastern Cheshire, we’re fortunate to have a wide range of excellent healthcare services.
For example, people who’ve had a stroke are getting the best hospital care in the country. And our cancer care was recently rated outstanding by NHS England.
Reasons for this include the fact that the number of people dying from cancer in eastern Cheshire is 14 per cent below the national average – and nearly 20pc lower than in 2003. We also have one of the best records in England for number of women surviving more than one year after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
But we’re not complacent and are constantly striving for improvement. And that’s why our governing body approved a new cancer strategy last month for the next four years.
Our aim is that, by 2020, we will have achieved a further improvement in the prevention and detection of cancer with more people:
l Surviving for longer after diagnosis
l Having a positive experience of care and support
l Enjoying a better long-term quality of life.
The strategy is underpinned by strategic objectives to reduce growth in the number of cancer cases, improve survival of people diagnosed with cancer, and improve the quality of life of people after treatment and at end of life. The objectives will be achieved through eight key actions:
l Empowering people to have healthier lifestyles
l Diagnosing cancers through screening programmes before symptoms appear
l Encouraging patients to present early with signs and symptoms
l Supporting primary care to manage patients in line with best practice
l Ensuring rapid access to diagnostic tests and referral
l Providing individualised care to patients
l Reducing risks and improving long-term outcomes for diagnosed patients
l Actively monitoring achievement of the strategic aims.
This is vitally-important work because cancer touches the lives of many people. More than 1,100 cancers are diagnosed in the area every year.