Yesterday was a pretty momentous one for cancer patients in Wales. We held our first patient-led event to speak to the Welsh Assembly about cancer care and the patients' role in the design, commissioning and delivery of the service.
Here is a photo of Mark Drakeford, the Minister of Health, Assembly Members and a few of the delegates at the event on the steps of the Welsh Assembly.
Over 160 delegates massed at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay to 'have their say'. There were 48 cancer patients from across Wales, NHS staff, 30 charities, Chair of Velindre Health Boards and as many as 36 Assembly Members.
Our story was shared on Radio Wales Morning Programme, there was a 52 minute interview with cancer patient/campaigner from North Wales, Irfon Williams, on the Welsh medium radio in the afternoon, and the VOICES event was the first item on the 6 o'clock ITV Wales News. It just goes to show the degree of interest in cancer care in Wales and the need to get greater patient involvement.
The Speakers were, Dr Tom Crosby, Clinical Lead of the Velindre Hospital and Director of the S Wales Cancer Forum, two patient campaigners - Annie Mulholland facebook.com/groups/OneVoic...
Irfon Williams facebook.com/groups/www.haw...
and Annwen Jones, CEO of Target Ovarian Cancer
The Q&A Session with the health spokesperson from our four main parties was chaired by Baroness Delyth Morgan:
Vaughan Gethin, Deputy Minister of Health for Wales, Welsh Labour
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrats
Darren Millar, Welsh Conservatives
We have every expectation this will be the first of many more similar events and a huge step towards greater co-operation and trust between various stakeholders, and most importantly a boost to patient empowerment.
There was a rapt audience, standing room only for the Q&A Session, 5 camera crews, and a posse of reporters and journalists from our media here in Wales and The London Guardian.
It was the sexiest cancer conference ever ... and we did it in Wales!