A CANCER patient has hit out at Burnham Surgery claiming they have “unnecessarily shortened” his life following a late cancer diagnosis.

Bill Grossmith, 69, of East Avenue, Althorne, claims he had to wait six months from his first visit to the surgery before receiving the news he had lung cancer.

By that point the cancer was terminal and Mr Grossmith had lost the use of his left lung.

He said he felt “seriously let down” by the surgery, who kept him on inhalers for months before he was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer.

Mr Grossmith first attended the surgery in March after he felt a sharp pain while doing DIY and had trouble breathing.

He claimed it was not until a third visit he was allowed to see a doctor, who sent for X-rays and began treating him for suspected emphysema. He said: “I still had a lot of pain. I asked the doctor if that was normal with emphysema and he said it wasn’t.

“So I asked what they thought the pain in my back could be. The doctor said he didn’t know and that was it, no further investigation or CT scan.”

Mr Grossmith said he kept returning and eventually saw a different doctor who sent him straight to hospital and a shadow was revealed on his lung.

He said: “I believe Burnham Surgery has seriously let me down.

Anyone would think that they had never seen a cancer patient before.

“The hospital were amazed at how long it had taken for the doctors to refer me. Thankfully one doctor at the surgery did, and I thank him for that.

“I have been left with a lung that won’t recover. If the doctors had acted sooner they would have had a chance to save it.

“They have reduced my life expectancy and life quality hugely. I have months to live. It is difficult to walk from one room to another I used to be quite fit and active, but not anymore.

“My objective is to try and prevent other patients from having their lives unnecessarily shortened like me. I am not after money, I want an apology.”

Mr Grossmith started chemotherapy at the end of September, six months after he first attended the surgery.

Complaint letters were sent to the surgery and practice manager in November.

A letter from the surgery stated: “We are really sorry that you were recently diagnosed with lung cancer and that you feel that the surgery had let you down.

“After reviewing your case we really felt sorry for your late diagnosis of cancer; but felt it was a very unusual presentation.

“Unfortunately some lung cancers can present in this unusual way and in your case multiple chest X-rays did not show any evidence of cancer.

“However, we felt it was a learning opportunity for us and the whole team and we will discuss this further in future meetings to ensure that staff can learn from your case.”

The clinical commissioning group declined to comment but referred Mr Grossmith to the patient advice and liaison service.