Well the day cancer patients were dreading dawned without any sign of a reprieve.
'Friday the 13th' has struck again!
As of today an average of 20 people a day will receive the prognosis that they are dying prematurely.
There will be some of you who are probably wondering what on earth I am talking about. Well I am referring to the changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund that come into force today. You may recall my recent blog on the subject but for those who missed it or want to recap, just click here to read.
The response to my article has been terrific and even resulted in a double page spread by journalist, Jeremy Laurance in The Independent who referred to me as 'someone who may come back to haunt Mr Cameron!'
So what happens now?
Well our campaign continues. We currently have over 5,500 signatures on our petition to Mr Cameron to keep his promise about supporting The Cancer Drugs Fund and finding a solution to give access to life-saving drugs to patients that need them. The number continues to climb. The fact that we are in the middle of election fever is, we hope, going to help and we remain determined to add this issue to the political agenda.
It has been a week where another petition has hit the headlines, the 'Bring Back Clarkson' campaign. Now I love Jeremy Clarkson and I love Top Gear and am not particularly surprised that his petition in first 48 hours reached in excess of 800,000 signatures. But whose life is really going to be drastically changed if we never see nor hear from him again? His family and friends certainly - just like those of us that have been given a cancer or other life threatening diagnosis.
The question that puzzles me is how to get people to react just as passionately to my campaign, a campaign that, God forbid, could actually disastrously affect many people in the years to come. How do I get the message across that this is important to everyone? Perhaps if Mr Clarkson had been given the news I had a few years ago (and God forbid he should ever be), this petition might be a very different thing. Millions of his fans would have signed up to help!
Answers on a postcard please. I am but a small voice, but behind me are many, many more and I'd like the media, politicians and decision makers in the NHS, NICE, drugs companies, charities - everyone, to hear us roar!
I have enjoyed the challenge of this campaign and will continue to fight for causes that I believe in. I particularly enjoyed writing the initial blog and have decided to continue to give my views on the subjects and causes that matter to me. Simply Simon will be coming regularly to a computer screen near you!
I have views on a number of subjects one of which is the banks and their mis-selling. But that is a subject for another day.
I am now a writer by trade although this has been fashioned more by fate (well ill health really) than design. Writing my first novel Proteus was a wonderful experience and one I am repeating with a second novel Guts that is now underway and looking good. More on that on another day too.
This moment and this day is all about the Cancer Drugs Fund and the broken promises made by the Prime Minister.
I have met David Cameron and I liked him. That in itself is strange as I have a natural dislike of politicians mainly due to the way they speak. Mr Cameron however came across well and I believed every word he said. I also truly believe he meant every word of them.
The fact is, unlike some, I don't blame Mr Cameron for the changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund but I do blame him for not intervening and ensuring that his promise was kept. That for me is unforgiveable and shows a crucial weakness. But it isn't too late.
Everyone knows about the problems the NHS faces and the cost of cancer drugs is just one of the main issues. Clearly more work needs to be done to make cancer drugs more affordable to the NHS and to empower the decision-making to the oncologists and clinicians but this will take time. But time under the new rules is something that up to 8000 cancer patients a year simply will not get.
That is just plain wrong!
There is nothing worse than telling someone they are dying and that there is a drug that would prolong their life, possibly even cure them but they can't have it. I know that for a fact because it happened to me!