I missed the speeches at the official opening of the new £10 million private gastroenterology unit at Celtic Springs Business Park on Monday. I'd been detained at a coffee morning in Welshpool before heading South to Newport. So missed Colin Jackson's ceremonial wielding of the scissors. I'd been keen to go because its such an interesting development.
At the unit, Nucleus Healthcare will treat the full range of problems of the digestive system, but the part of its work that interests me is capacity to carry out colonoscopies. Recently the Assembly Government announced that it was postponing the full introduction of its bowel cancer screening programme for 50-74 year olds until 2015 because there is not sufficient capacity in the NHS in Wales to deal with the number of cases that would be identified, and require a colonoscopy, and subsequent surgery. This private healthcare facility could carry out the colonoscopies - and at 'tariff', which is the same price that the NHS pays for them in England. Now I'm not going to play politics with this issue. It matters too much to me. I realise there are complex arguments, but I do hope that people suffering from bowel cancer are not being required to pay with their lives for some ideological prejudice against using the private sector.
We are all conditioned by our experience, and one those which define the way I think, is personal knowledge that early diagnosis of colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) saves lives. It saved mine. So I'm a advocate of screening and early treatment - and if this can be speeded up by using Dr Manny Srivastrava's spanking new facility, then let it happen.
I really enjoyed the event. Ossie and Angela Jackson, Colin's parents were there to keep an eye on CJ. They are such special people. Angela was a colonoscopist with Dr Srivastrava until she retired. I had met them before at an event in Cardiff, when Colin was being inducted into 'The Hall of Fame' a few years ago. Its easy to understand why Colin Jackson is such an unassuming general 'good guy' with such great parents. I really hope that Nucleus Healthcare's big gamble comes off.