It is ironic then that, as some on the right flounder around ignorantly in debates about intelligence, a man regarded as one of the cleverest living Brits breezes into the political arena to strongly criticise the privatisation of the NHS.
Often people feel that they have been replaced by cancer; that their lives and who they are has been reduced to cancer; that their past achievements, dreams and ambitions no longer count for anything. How to cope? And how do others around us cope?
What is perhaps less well reported is that there are also thousands of people every year who are living with cancer long term, struggling to maintain their standard of living. And, while treatment has advanced significantly since the 1960s, palliative care has not.
For people with cancer, being able to continue in or return to work can help them reclaim their life from the disease. It can provide a return to normality, restore their identity and self-esteem, and ease financial worries. But at Macmillan Cancer Support we know that people with cancer often face difficulties at work after their diagnosis. More than four in 10 people who are working when diagnosed have to make changes to their working lives, with almost half of them changing jobs or leaving work. There are more than 100,000 people of working age diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.
If you suspect your doctor is providing you with substandard treatment but can't quite pinpoint where the problem lies, then this list is for you. Here are the dozen most common red flags that will tell you if your doctor is blundering with your health. Ready? Let's begin with the first six.
The Friends and Family Test is helping the NHS become safer - steps have been taken at Hillingdon to make sure patients with Parkinson's' Disease get their medication on time, by using a simple alarm clock to remind staff when medicine needs to be taken. And Lewisham and Greenwich Hospitals NHS Trust has improved communication with patients by making sure every day each nurse introduces themselves to the patients they will be responsible for, and has a discussion about what the patient can expect to happen during the day. Those are just a few examples of positive change. There are many more.
The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and when we think about it, it's not rocket science to understand why that may be.
Life isn't simple and things aren't generally black and white. The public sector is part of life and, as such, it's just the same. But even so, wouldn't it be nice if we could just simply focus on doing things for the right reasons?
Efforts to persuade teenagers to have safe sex and to use health-screening services seem to be having a positive effect. Looks like that bloke who said "education, education, education" might have gotten something right after all. So, if you have a teenager, here's ten things you need to know before they become sexually active.
In healthcare, I would describe innovation as anything that creates new opportunities for improvement or development. This has long been recognised in industry... But the truth is we are still a long way from providing the right conditions for innovation to thrive and permeate across the NHS.
Human rights have become toxic in Britain. There is no genuine public debate over the issue - debates are supposed to be two sided, and progressive forces have not yet found a successful response to calls to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights... However, research on public attitudes suggests that this is a debate that pro-human rights forces could win.
Reports about the amount of money being spent by the NHS on medical negligence claims highlight the urgent need for deep-rooted changes in the way services are delivered and the way claims are handled...
My goal is to involve clinicians at all levels in running and improving services. After all it is the staff on the frontline who will truly make a difference to the delivery of care in our hospitals. It is vital to let them know we are actively supporting them.
I really miss the days when the worst we thought Jeremy Hunt could do to the NHS was privatise it. At least you knew what you were getting with privatisation. But what Mr Hunt is doing, incredibly, manages to be worse.
There are real concerns that eye clinics across England are struggling to cope with current demand meaning that many patients are having their appointments, treatment and follow up care delayed or cancelled. These delays can lead to people going blind unnecessarily. At the minimum people are experiencing extreme worry and anxiety.
As a British citizen, it's sad to see Obamacare hopelessly floundering. When Obama triumphantly signed the Bill into law in 2010, it's doubtful that even he could have imagined how his Administration-defining Affordable Healthcare Act would become such a cancer on America...