Living with a serious condition: how the NHS can help and how it can fail

When we talk about health care, the NHS, health and wellbeing data behind it all, we research to understand the situation better. Also, data can help us find better possible solutions. At the same time, data comes alive with people’s stories. They can empower, but also trigger debate and point out cracks in the system.

At the recent Wellness Hackday run by RnR organisation and hosten by The Active Wellbeing Society, journalists, healthcare professionals, digital specialists and people living with a condition discussed how data in the industry can help. Among the participants, Jan Anderson shared her story of living with serious health conditions. Years ago, she woke up one morning and couldn’t get out of bed. In the video below, she talks about how she got her diagnosis, but also what help was available.

Listening to Jan’s story, we might consider her lucky. The GP who treated her, we found out, insisted for the employer to pay for the scan. When workers report on big companies looking for a reason to dismiss them, after they needed sick leave, help from a healthcare specials proves crucial.

Also, once treatment begins a patient needs to be able to carry on with their lives. As Jan, from the West Midlands, says, attending support groups and getting a puppy to take on walks help her stay focused and organised.

Living with cancer and treatment available on the NHS

But not everybody is as lucky. And we are not talking about situations when a diagnosis comes too late. Coach and speaker Carol Coombes, living with cancer, found out the only two available treatments for cancer on the NHS are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She says she discovered most things the national health system could offer she cannot tolerate.

In her speech at the Wellness Hackday, Carol pointed out how more people need to be aware of what treatment is available. For example, children (under 16) do not have a choice whether they take one of the 2 options or not. They will be treated regardless. She uses her story and discoveries to highlight how data and knowledge of new development can support better solutions.

With real people’s stories at the forefront, Landinside will publish such possible solutions, as discussed on the day.

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