Mike adds his voice
Mike attended one of the Cancer Taskforce patient workshops in Newcastle. Since then, he's drawn on his experience to shape some exciting pieces of work at Cancer Research UK. He shares his experience being involved in the Cancer Taskforce, why it was important to him and how he feels his voice made a difference.
My advice to anyone affected by cancer who is thinking about getting involved in an area of Cancer Research UK's work is to do it. Your opinions are listened to and respected and patient experience can really help make a difference.
How did you first get involved?
I saw that Cancer Research UK was organising three patient workshops on behalf of an independent body called the Cancer Taskforce, which had been set up by NHS England to find ways of improving all aspecsts of cancer care and outcomes in England. They were keen to consult patients and carers as well a various organisations and clinicians.
I'd only been diagnosed just over a year earlier so, with my experiences being so recent, I felt I could make a valuable contribution.
What did you do exactly?
About 40 people attended the workshop in Newcastle. In small groups we discussed three main topics - diagnosis, treatment and living with and beyond cancer. We shared our experiences and opinions about what had or hadn't worked for us at each stage of our care and how it could be improved.
What was being involved like?
I felt it was very worthwhile. I was impressed that three members of the Taskforce, who would be responsible for shaping the recommendations, attended our workshop. It was then that I felt confident that our views were really going to be listened to and taken seriously.
What impact did your input have?
I've read the interim and final reports and I saw in them things we had actually discussed at our workshop. I feel we have been listened to and that we were really involved in making a difference. I think the recommendatins in the final report are excellent, accurately reflecting what so many of us have said.