If you have been following this blog you will know that we have been calling for safe, high quality care for all people with breast cancer in South Africa.
But what exactly do we mean by that?
Safe, quality care needs to be the norm everywhere that people with breast cancer are treated. The care that a patient receives should not be determined by where they live or how much money they have. We know that our public facilities have problems.
We’ve all seen the stories in our news media highlighting the poor state that many of our hospitals are in. We also know that the problems are not insurmountable and that there are many dedicated people working to make sure that the standards are raised. There have been calls for politicians to start using public, rather than private hospitals so that they can share the experiences of the majority of our people, and we commend our Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi for doing just that.
So, what needs to happen if we are to have safe, high quality care?
All the different clinicians who are part of the team that cares for people with breast cancer must have the technical skills they need , with regular training, to do their jobs properly.
The health care staff must have regular reviews of their performance and they must be actively involved in continuing professional education.
The equipment needed for diagnosis and care must be available, and in full working order. People with breast cancer must be empowered to make informed choices about their treatment. For this to happen, they need to have information they can understand.
The drugs needed for breast cancer treatment must be available when they are needed. There must be no delays or pauses in treatment.
How have you experienced the quality and equality of your breast cancer care?