Essex: Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell reveals his cancer scare experience

Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester.

Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester. - Credit: Archant

A north Essex MP has given his “vote of confidence” to cancer medical staff at Colchester’s hospitals less than a year after his own cancer scare.

Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, revealed for the first time yesterday he underwent testing for cancer at Colchester General Hospital at the end of last year with an anxious wait for results over Christmas.

He had three visits to the hospital while cancer was ruled out, just at the time as the cancer waiting time scandal at the Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust (CHUFT) was revealed.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found evidence suggesting waiting time figures had been manipulated at CHUFT.

Today Healthwatch Essex published its own report into cancer services at the health trust, based on patient interviews, and found a mixed response.

Sir Bob said he had to chase his doctor and the hospital for the outcome of the tests having spent the Christmas and New Year waiting to hear, only to find out that while the hospital had given good news to his GP some while previously, they had not contacted him directly despite although the letter to his doctor stating they had.

The Liberal Democrat MP said: “Fortunately, it was a false alarm – the tests gave me the all-clear.

“While my experience from a medical perspective was first class the post-treatment administration was woeful.

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“Several months ago I shared my experience with the senior management of CHUFT and with the CQC.

“It really is down to management to have fail-proof systems not only in the treatment but also in the administration, so I endorse the recommendations from Healthwatch Essex and in particular the one about improving communication with patients.”