Essex/Ipswich: Cancer doctor to fight Clacton by-election on health agenda
A senior cancer doctor is standing in the Clacton by-election to force debate on health care.
Dr Bruce Sizer, a consultant oncologist at Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust (CHUFT) since 1996, says he decided to take the opportunity presented by the election to stand as a single-issue candidate.
Dr Sizer, who oversees chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for patients across north Essex and has worked in the NHS for more than 25 years, said he was not standing as any form of protest against cancer services at CHUFT which he said were excellent.
Dr Sizer, who lives in Ipswich and has five children, is standing as an independent and says he is not representing any pressure group or political party.
He said: “The idea would be to try to get health, and in particular cancer care, on the agenda for the main political parties. It is not a question of trying to win the by-election but raising the issue so it takes priority.
“I have never done this before. I am very proud to work for the NHS, I am a strong supporter of it, and I think it is a fantastic ethos of care free at the point of delivery.
“The age demographic in the constituency has a large elderly population, many of whom are socially isolated and so accessing cancer services – in particular screening programmes – can be difficult for them. Even though the survival rate is remarkable, the important thing is about people presenting early.
“The issue has got to be recognised of how do people, the elderly in particular, access those services in a timely fashion, presenting early and therefore having better outcomes.”
As well as standing on a health ticket Dr Sizer said he also has some views with regards to immigration, which is set to be a key talking point during the Clacton campaign after it was sparked by incumbent Conservative MP Douglas Carswell’s defection to UKIP.
Dr Sizer, 55, said: “I feel strongly about immigration. I myself am Australian, though I went to school in the UK, and between one-third and one-quarter of doctors in the NHS are from overseas.
“A number of my colleagues come from abroad and are excellent. The whole concept of the NHS depends on nursing, medical, all aspects of staff, coming from overseas as well as locally.
“They all have varied complicated stories as to why they are here but thank goodness they are.”
When not working Dr Sizer enjoys playing tennis and spending time at the family beach hut in Walton.
He hopes to get out on the campaign trail when not working, particularly at weekends.
• Other candidates in the by-election are: Douglas Carswell (UKIP); Andy Graham (Lib Dem); Alan “Howling Laud” Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party); Charlotte Rose (Ind); Chris Southall (Green); Giles Watling (Con); Tim Young (Lab)