It’s absolutely clear that our fabulous NHS, and its highly skilled and dedicated staff, has saved many lives from the first wave of COVID infections.  I am grateful beyond words to the doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers, hospital porters and cleaners, who have all worked so hard, at risk to themselves, for the sake of us all.

Dealing with the pandemic forced our NHS to cancel many face-to-face appointments.  The risk of patients catching or spreading the virus was too high.

We’re now in a quiet period, with the infection plateaued.  A second wave of COVID may hit this winter, so we must use the time wisely.  Anyone with a health concern even just a niggle, a pain, a lump, should see their doctor now and get it checked.

Health experts are desperately worried that many people will lose their lives, because their illnesses weren’t diagnosed in time for effective treatment.

Chemotherapy appointments dropped 60% during lockdown.  There are fears that waiting lists for hospital treatment could exceed10 million by the year’s end, if we have a second wave.

The Government must put a strategy and sufficient funding in place to meet this challenge; but we can help too, by looking after our own health, now.

In Newham, far too many of us delay too long, before getting signs of cancer checked out.  Waiting is deadly and the message from our NHS is clear:  if you are worried about something, raise it with your GP and make sure you get tested.

In July I had my regular mammogram.  For others, it is something else.  Men might need a prostate or testicle exam:  women a smear test.

If you see blood, or experience discomfort, when you go to the loo, you may need to take a sample.  It might seem disgusting, but it could save your life.

Is there a mole on your skin that’s grown or changed?  Talk to your GP.

A cancer check isn’t anyone’s idea of Summer Fun, but we owe it to ourselves, and those who love us, to deal with health problems before it’s too late.

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