A CANCER survivor has hit out at the NHS after being told she “would probably die on the waiting list”.
Lisa Guit was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008 and began treatment in Singapore, where she was working as a banker.
But after a biopsy, where one of her ovaries was frozen and the other moved under her rib cage to remove it from the radiation zone and protect her fertility, it was confirmed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, cutting her survival chances from 80 per cent to just 30 per cent.
She ignored doctors’ advice and made the strenuous 14-hour journey back to Scotland for treatment. Ms Guit, 34, from Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, said: “I was in a horrific state when I got back. My legs were swollen, my stomach was basically hanging open.
“When they told me over there that the surgery and treatment I’d need would cost at least $50,000 (£32,000), I knew straight away I couldn’t afford it.
“I paid a lot of National Insurance tax, so expected a high level of care on the NHS, but that really wasn’t the case. I went to the appointment the same day I arrived back in Scotland and Mum came with me. We went into the room where he had a medical student with him, which didn’t really bother me, but was his way of treating me shocked me.
“I walked into the room fully confident that as soon as he saw the state I was in, he would freak out and get me treatment straight away. He looked at me but did not examine me. He clearly had absolutely zero sympathy for the situation I was in.”
Ms Guit told how the doctor went on to say something she never expected to hear. “Instead of offering treatment and talking about my options, he said, ‘The NHS is a shambles. You could die on the waiting list. If I was you, I would fly back to Singapore and get treatment. You’ll probably die on the list’.
“I was in absolute shock when he said that. I couldn’t even cry.
“I was absolutely horrified at how cold and heartless he was. My mum was furious as well.
“He may have been telling the truth but he was so callous, he took away any hope I had left.”
Ms Guit made the decision to seek further treatment in Singapore and took out loans of nearly £30,000. After rapid treatment that allowed her to keep her fertility, she received a clear smear test result six weeks later. Ms Guit says Dr Tay Eng Hseon, of the Novena Medical Centre in Singapore, saved her life.
She has spoken out against the NHS as she approaches the five-year cancer-free mark. But it was not the end of her battle. Three years later, abnormal cells showed up on a smear test and she underwent a radical abdominal trachelectomy in Singapore, in which the cervix and its cancerous cells were removed.
Ms Guit now plans to run the New York City marathon in November to raise money for local charity the Michelle Henderson Cancer Trust.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “In 2008, we consistently maintained a strong performance on cancer waiting times and over 92 per cent of patients were seen within the waiting times guarantee. Today, this performance has improved further and over 98 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer begin treatment within 31 days.
“NHS care in Greater Glasgow and Clyde is available to all those who need it and given our cancer waiting times performance, we are surprised to learn of the conversation between an independent GP and a patient.”