The loneliest I’ve ever felt in my life’: Labor MP Wes Streeting urges hospitals to end ‘postcode lottery’ of visitation rules after revealing his own agony of enduring a single kidney cancer treatment
- Wes Streeting opened up about the loneliness of facing cancer treatment alone
- Ghost health secretary says it was ‘the loneliest’ he’s ‘ever felt’ in his life
- The MP for Ilford North was on his own throughout due to tough pandemic restrictions
Wes Streeting has revealed the agony of undergoing cancer treatment alone as he urged all hospitals to end the ‘postcode lottery’ which bars family members from visiting patients.
Shadow health secretary says it was ‘the loneliest I have ever felt in my entire life’ and took a heavy toll on his partner and parents, who have not Were allowed to see it due to Covid restrictions.
The MP for Ilford North was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain due to a kidney stone, before a CT scan revealed a malignant tumor on the same kidney.
No Visitors: Wes Streeting in hospital during treatment for kidney cancer. The MP for Ilford North was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain from a kidney stone, before a scan revealed a malignant tumor on the same kidney
Two months later, the 38-year-old went to hospital in London for a day-long biopsy, followed by three days of cancer treatment.
He was on his own throughout due to the severe pandemic restrictions.
Mr Streeting, who is cancer free thanks to treatment, said: ‘I have never felt so alone in my life. It was a really horrible experience to be alone.
“Never mind that the NHS staff were brilliant and very supportive.
“It doesn’t replace having your family and loved ones around you. In some ways it was even worse for my family.
His partner, Joe, could not reach him in the hours following his operation.
Mr Streeting said: ‘My brilliant surgeon immediately phoned my partner to reassure him that the operation had been a success and that I could talk to him.
Mr Streeting (pictured in 2021), who is cancer free thanks to treatment, said: ‘I have never felt so alone in my life. It was a truly awful experience being alone’
‘But I had been placed on a different ward than they expected, and I didn’t get my mobile phone for hours, so Joe was on the phone for hours, getting bypassed by different departments.
“Although I was doing very well, Joe didn’t know it, so for him it was a very upsetting experience.”
Last month, The Mail on Sunday launched its campaign to end the trauma of isolated patients after revealing that nine NHS trusts were still imposing total bans on any visitors for certain patients, while almost half of the trusts displayed the NHS England guidelines on minimum visitation requirements.
Mr Streeting said: ‘I hope hospitals will make every effort to ensure family members can visit.
“It’s good for the patient, good for families, and helps reduce anxiety, stress, and trauma that people experience.”
He said family members can ease the pressure on nurses on wards by fetching water for bedridden patients or helping patients to the toilet, and expressed concern that restrictions on visits are still in place in UK hospitals ‘at this stage of the pandemic’.
Last month, The Mail on Sunday launched its campaign to end the trauma of isolated patients after revealing that nine NHS trusts were still imposing total bans on any visitors for certain patients (file photo used)
He added: ‘I really hope they get the support they need from the government to restore family visits consistently across the country, so we don’t see this postcode lottery again.’
Mr Streeting called on the Government to ‘play its part to support hospitals and ensure they have full and safe staff’.
He added: “People will understand that in today’s climate you can’t have a dozen family members crammed around a bed.
“But for people’s husbands, wives, mums and dads, not being able to visit them is a real hardship.”