Brother’s plea gets sister vital cancer treatment

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A DESPERATE brother who petitioned Andrew Lansley for help to get his sister a vital cancer operation has had success – after the health minister secured a date for the procedure at a private hospital.

Andrew Smith, who lives in Grantham, stood outside Pilgrim Hospital in Boston for the entire morning on Thursday in the hope of talking to Mr Lansley about his sister Gillian, who has twice been on the brink of having an operation for liver cancer before being told there was not a bed available for her.

But after speaking to Mr Lansley the Nottingham NHS Trust has confirmed the operation will take place on Saturday.

Mr Smith, who lost his father-in-law to liver cancer 14 years ago, said: “Government guidelines say the first operation should be within 31 days of being diagnosed, when she has the operation it will be day 71.

“With cancer it’s a time bomb. You’ve got to get it early.

“We’re just hoping and praying it hasn’t spread.”

Gillian, who previously battled bowel cancer in 2009, was first booked in for an appointment on the 30th day after her diagnosis, but just as she was about to go into the operating theatre she was told there would not be a bed for her when she came out of theatre.

The operation was rescheduled, but it was cancelled yet again because of a lack of space, prompting the self-employed man to give up a days work to come to Boston and speak with Andrew Lansley directly.

Mr Smith said the health minister was ‘brilliant’ during their discussion, and promised to take ‘a personal interest’.

He said: “I don’t know how to feel until it happens and until she’s physically in the hospital and she has got a bed.”