Continued from Page 3…
I know of a woman who waited 24 weeks from first seeing her GP to getting treatment for cancer . . . it turned out the GP had given up practice, so she simply fell out of sight.
So my recommendations for improvement are mainly about making the process more transparent for the patient, so that they know what is going on and understand why. You already have enough to worry about when you are dealing with cancer without fretting about whether you have been forgotten about by the system.
Joshua Regan: Why did The Globe write this article now? Just to try to embarrass the Harper government? Would you have written the same series if the Liberals were still in power?
Phillip Crawley: Most funding for health care comes from the provinces, so the main concern for health administrators, doctors and researchers is not about what the federal government is going to do, but what the politicians in their own areas are willing to support. You can see from the articles we ran last week that the quality of treatment available in Canada varies greatly depending on where you live.
I have no problem in embarrassing any government, whatever its political colour, if it fails to support the research going on in our teaching hospitals.
We would be losing a great opportunity to make a difference to many lives if research funding is cut back. When you bring a talented researcher from the U.S.A. to work in Canada, and then nickel-and-dime him by cutting his research grant in half, he'll probably go back home . . . and that's a case I know.
Jason Schmidt, Saskatoon: Mr. Crawley, thank you and thank The Globe for devoting so much time and resources to covering this important topic. Can you speak a little bit about what a "national cancer strategy" is and why you think it's important? When you lived in so many other countries, did they have such a strategy?
Phillip Crawley: Jason, I lived in the U.K. where the value of a national cancer strategy has emerged over recent years. Britain has many similar issues to Canada, such as the regional variations in the availability and quality of cancer care, even though their National Health Service is more centrally controlled than our health system here.
I see the value of a national cancer strategy as putting it more firmly on the national agenda, rather than leaving the provinces to go their own way, which leaves many Canadians puzzled.
I would like our main political parties at the federal level to give the whole topic of health care more attention, more debate . . . It deserves it. It's the No.1 issue for Canadians.
Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: Phillip, thanks again for taking the time today to answer questions from the readers of globeandmail.com. I'm sure they appreciated hearing both your own personal experiences with cancer and your insight on the issues related to the fight against the disease. Any last thoughts?
Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO, The Globe and Mail: Thanks for the opportunity, Jim.
Getting feedback from our readers is always valuable, and I am hoping there will be more questions and comments in the days ahead as we continue to run our cancer series. There is a lot more to say on this subject.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions for taking the time and trouble, and I'm sorry if I didn't get to answer your particular question.