Mercy mission could prove a real life-saver for Grantham woman

Andrew Smith took the day off work on Thursday to visit Boston Pilgrim Hospital in the hope of meeting Andrew Lansley.
Andrew Smith took the day off work on Thursday to visit Boston Pilgrim Hospital in the hope of meeting Andrew Lansley.
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A DESPERATE brother is celebrating today after earning a personal assurance from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley that his sister will get the cancer treatment she deserves.

Andrew Smith, of Maplewood Drive, Grantham, was at his wits’ end after his sister Gillian Moulds, of Gloucester Road, Grantham, twice had her cancer operation cancelled because of a lack of beds.

Desperate to do something to help his sister receive treatment, Mr Smith took a day off work and headed for Boston Pilgrim Hospital yesterday after discovering the Health Secretary planned to visit.

Arriving at 8.30am, Mr Smith held out little hope of an audience with Mr Lansley but was instead invited inside for a one-to-one meeting.

Mr Smith said: “He was absolutely brilliant. He said he only found out about my case yesterday from my MP, Nick Boles. He told me he would take charge of this and get it sorted.”

Mr Smith’s sister was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and successfully treated at Grantham Hospital.

However, in January of this year, regular checks found tumour marks on Gillian’s liver and she was booked in for an operation at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre a month ago.

On the day of her operation, she arrived at the hospital only to be told it could not go ahead because there were insufficient beds in intensive care.

She was sent home and given a new operation date, which was to be Wednesday of this week. However, she received a phone call on Friday cancelling the operation again because of a lack of beds.

This most recent set-back proved the final straw for Mr Smith.

He said: “Government guidelines say that when anyone is diagnosed with cancer they have to be treated within 31 days - it’s now been 65 days.

“I lost my father-inlaw to liver cancer so I know Gillian needs to be seen straight away.

“The doctor has said he can remove it but he needs to be able to get on with it because time is everything with cancer.”

Mr Smith is confident his one-to-one meeting will lead to his sister receiving a new operation date soon.

He said: “I shouldn’t have to do this - travelling to London to meet my MP and taking a day off work to go to Boston. But Mr Lansley was very helpful and he listened. He’s an absolutely cracking bloke.”