How one man helped make cancer care better by sharing his experience

Before he sadly passed away in May 2019, Mike Chapman went out of his way to use his experience to help make care better for people affected by cancer. Mike was recognised for his outstanding achievement at the Healthwatch Network Awards 2019.
Mike Chapman describes his experience of being a Healthwatch Essex Cancer Patient Partner.

Mike wanted to help others affected by cancer

A former NHS Trust Director, Mike got in touch with Healthwatch Essex in November 2018 because he wanted to ‘give something back’ and help improve cancer care for people in Mid and South Essex. Although too unwell to work, Mike wanted to volunteer some of his time to Healthwatch’s Cancer Patient Partner project, to help people affected by cancer inform the design of new local services.

Mike was particularly passionate about the need for greater support during treatment and improvements in communication. He also advocated strongly for patients to be treated as real people.

Cancer is just one part of my life, not all of it!
— Mike Chapman

Raising awareness of end of life care

By being open and honest about his own diagnosis, Mike encouraged others to take the opportunity to speak up about how services could better meet people’s needs. The last contribution he made to the project before he passed away was to participate in a panel event during ‘Dying Matters’ week. He and his wife talked about the difficulty of preparing for end of life and the importance of being ‘ready’. This was shared across Essex during the awareness week to encourage more conversations about what people and their families need from end of life care.

In his final few weeks, Mike told Healthwatch that he wants the team to use everything he shared about his experience to try and effect change for other people affected by cancer, which they intend to do. A truly inspirational man, the Healthwatch community is incredibly grateful to Mike and his family for everything they did to try and make other people’s cancer journeys better.

Find out more about our award winning stories

Read the inspiring stories behind the Healthwatch Network Awards 2019. The awards recognised outstanding examples of local Healthwatch and individuals who have gone above and beyond to ensure people get the health and care they need.

Read more

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