Hereford Times takes on the NHS

A three-year campaign by the Hereford Times called ‘Cut the Cancer Misery Miles’has been successful in helping to secure a new radiotherapy unit for the county by 2012.

Health editor Liz Watkins launched the campaign after hearing distressing stories from patients.

‘People were being forced to travel up to 80 miles to and from Cheltenham for cancer treatment, sometimes every day for six weeks,’she said. ‘I decided to challenge the view from the health authority that our community couldn’t expect a better service.”

Local residents Allan and Angela Lloyd helped collect stories and letters from cancer patients and worked with Watkins to secure regular stories in the paper which appeared with a distinctive logo.

A portfolio of 400 letters and emails were also sent to Tony Blair and the Department of Health as part of the campaign.

At the final decision-making meeting at the end of July, news editor Ian Morris handed out copies of the paper with its front-page appeal: ‘We’ve fought so long – don’t let Herefordshire down at the end”.

Herefordshire County Council leader Roger Phillips said: ‘The Hereford Times has demonstrated again its intuitive grasp of the issues most important to Herefordshire people”.

The Newsquest-owned Hereford Times has a weekly circulation of 39,876.

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