If I was running the country, I'd be looking for easy wins. The stuff you can do that is simple, tangible, and that people can easily see as being sensible, providing ongoing and measurable results.

A national cancer service would be very near the top of my list.

The Prime Minister was perplexed on our programme on Tuesday that she's tipped so much money into health generally, but isn't getting any real results out. She has made the classic mistake of thinking just throwing money at stuff solves issues.


That's why this Government has spent millions on inquiries and working groups that, you will note, to this point have produced basically nothing, or nothing that we didn't already know.

Health Minister David Clark is working on a national cancer action plan, which he committed to in January.

Meanwhile there's a bloke called Blair Vining. He's from Southland, he's got cancer, and he's discovered the grotesque unfairness of our cancer service.

Basically it's a lottery. What you get by way of treatment is very much dependent on where you live. How mad is that?

And so as he battles his disease, he is also campaigning, getting signatures, stirring the pot, and raising awareness.

Minister Clark has been impressed by this and has credited Blair for bringing impetus to the debate.

If I was Clark I'd be ashamed of myself.

Why is it a sick man's job to remind the Government to do theirs? No, if you're in a town of 500, you can't expect the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. But it is not too much to ask to be able to expect world class treatment on a national basis for something as prevalent as cancer.


The entire DHB system is a shambolic mess. Another tangible that, if I was running the country, I'd solve almost overnight - by getting rid of basically the lot of them.

And because we have 20 fiefdoms, we have 20 approaches to what's important and what isn't, and all the variances that go with it. Hence your cancer treatment depends on nothing more than the sheer luck or lack of it, as to what your address is.

This isn't new, it's not disputed, everyone agrees it's madness, everyone knows it's unfair. So why do sick people have to keep pointing out the bleeding obvious?

And why, when you have the authority, the power, and you would hope the desire, do we seem to have people who lack the backbone, fortitude, and gonads to actually pull the trigger and do something just a bit proactive and obvious?