Mitzi Blennerhassett BA (Lincolnshire & Humberside, 1999), RSA Cert (Counselling Skills).
Friend of the Royal College of Pathologists
Patient advocate, medical writer, author, artist.
Wyville Lodge, Slingsby, York YO62 4AQ. Telephone: 01653 628369
2009 – Trustee Director, Rarer Cancers Foundation
2012 – 2013 Kings Health Partners Key Opinion Leaders Panel – developing choice about NHS cancer screening programme information.
2012 – 2013 National Radiotherapy Clinical Reference Group for commissioning specialized services – cancer.
2009-2013 National Cancer Action Team ‘Connected’ Advanced Communication Skills Training, Expert Reference Group, oversight strategy group.
– North & East Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire Consumer Research Panel
2002-2013 Scarborough Patient Involvement Group
2002-2013 Yorkshire Cancer Network, User Partnership Group, Leeds.
2010 Contributor: DVDs for medical education re patient safety issues – 1 ‘The Trouble with handovers’, Patient Safety Federation, 2 Video made on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support/Royal College of General Practitioners.
2010 Patients for Patient Safety Project, Wider Network; COMPASS (Complex Interventions, Assessment, Trials -Implementation of Services) Collaborative – Consumer Research Panel.
2010 Breakthrough Breast Cancer Consumer Advocacy Network
2005 Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – user input to
2004-06 Department of Health, National Pathology Modernisation Oversight Group and Mortuary
2004 Macmillan Cancer Relief Policy User Reference Panel
2003-05 National Audit Office Cancer Reference Panel, user representative.
2003 North Zone Cancer Peer Review Team – lay input.
2002-04 Royal College of General Practitioners’ Patient Partnership Group
(PPG) formerly ‘Patient Liaison Group’
RCGP Quality Team Development Scheme Steering Group and
RCGP Primary Care Research Team Assessment Advisory Group
1999-2004 Royal College of Pathologists Lay Advisory Committee (LAC)
formerly ‘Patient Liaison Group’ (Vice Chair: 2002, Chair: 2003-04)
RCPath Professional Performance Panel (Professional Reviews).
RCPath National Working Group: ‘Guidelines for the Retention of Tissues and Organs at Post Mortem Examination’ 2000. (co-author Consent Form & ‘Information for Relatives’ booklet).
RCPath patient information allergy booklet – co-author.
National Blood Service (Tissue Services) – Dedicated Cadaver
Retrieval Centre Working Group.
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ Chairs’ Patient Group.
2002-2003 Royal College of Anaesthetists’ Patient Information Project: Raising the Standard,
Information for Patients – ‘Anaesthesia Explained’.
2004-2007 St Catherine’s Hospice, Scarborough, Palcall Out of Hours
Service Steering Group.
2002 York Health Services NHS Trust: Pain Clinic Patient Information
1994-2002 York Community Health Council (CHC)
York Community Health Council/York Health Services NHS Trust joint
‘Art in Hospital’ group
York Health Services NHS Trust: Local Research Ethics Committee
Chapter 10, (York CHC) Public Involvement and Patient Empowerment Group
1995-1997 Cancerlink Trustee Director, London
mid 1990s National Cancer Alliance Advisory Council, London
1991-2002 Founder member: Cancer Concern Self Help and Support Group,
secretary/coordinator/fundraiser/supporter. Editor ‘Hot News’ monthly
Founder: Cancer Concern Drop-In Centre, Malton, North Yorkshire.
1998-2003 Founder: Cancer Action Now advocacy group, Secretary/Coordinator.
Lymphoedema Support Network.
Macmillan Cancer Support ‘Cancer Voices’ patient advocate/book reviewer.
Previous local voluntary work
Ryedale Council for Voluntary Action – Executive Committee
Age Concern – Visitor/Assessor
Victim Support – Visitor/supporter
Adult Literacy – Teacher
Youth Enquiry Services – Counsellor
* Nothing Personal: disturbing undercurrents in cancer care, Radcliffe
Publishing Limited, Oxford, May 2008.
Winner, Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Awards, 2009.
Awarded as competition prize, Royal College of Nursing, April 2009.
Hailed ‘a landmark for the patient voice’, Macmillan Cancer Support,
Educational tool: patient narrative includes referenced discussion sections throughout which look at better practice – built around therapeutic poems written at the time of treatment.
* ‘Therapeutic Eruptions’ in Dying, Bereavement and the Healing Arts, Editor Gillie Bolton, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 (extract from ‘Progress in Palliative Care’, 2005). Prose, poetry.
* ‘What Cancer Patients Need’ in Baker MR (ed.)Modernising Cancer Services, Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press; 2002.
*Guest Editor, CancerVoices News, Conference Edition, March 2003, Issue 9 Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Editor, ‘Hot News’, Monthly newsletter, Cancer Concern Support Group, York,
*Should healthy populations be screened for breast cancer? A perspective
from someone with previously diagnosed breast cancer. Qual. Prim Care. Volume 21(3)2013 187-8
* Blennerhassett M. An ethical dilemma or an opportunity for openness’. Qual Prim
Care. Volume 21(1) 2013 39-42.
* Blennerhassett M. Challenges for primary care in the age of the
autonomous patient. Qual Prim Care. 15: 4. 2007 201-6.
* Blennerhassett M. Clinical Management: Mitzi Blennerhassett on a
neglected condition. HSJ 12 January 2006
* Tylko K, Blennerhassett M. How the NHS could better protect the safety of
radiotherapy patients. Health Care Risk Report: 12(9) 2006,18-19.
(Ed. Pat Anderson’s top 10 reads from the 2006-07 archive.)
Tylko K, Blennerhassett M. Patients Accelerating Change: radiotherapy
safety. Cancer Action Team News:2007.
* Blennerhassett M. Opinion & Analysis, Yorkshire Post Newspapers
November 7 2005
Blennerhassett M. Three Minute Marathon INVOLVE Report: 4th National
Conference ‘People at the Heart of Research’, Department of Health. Poem.
INVOLVE. 12, 2005.
* Blennerhassett M. Therapeutic Eruptions in Progress in Palliative Care,
13(5) 2005 316-317.
Blennerhassett M. Seen and Heard, in Practice Development in Health
Care. 4(2) 108-111, 2005.
Blennerhassett M. Nurse prescribing and resuscitation. Cancerbacup News
* Blennerhassett M. The Lay Advisory Committee: Due Praise, Bulletin of the
Royal College of Pathologists, 126, 35.
* Blennerhassett M. Contributions to GP Clinical- Practice Dilemmas: 11
November 2002, 6 January 2003, 24 February 2003, 10 March 2003, April
2003, 9, 16 June 2003, 4 November 2005.
* Blennerhassett M. Palliative Care in the Community. Primary Nursing Care,
Journal of the Community & District Nursing Association, 2001
* Blennerhassett M. CancerVoices News 2001
Blennerhassett M. Cancer Made Me Re-think My Life. Pulse, York Health Services Trust, October 1999.
* British Medical Journal: 1998 Deadly Charades. 316:1890-91.
* Health Service Journal: The Pain of the Gentle Touch – 1996 April 11.
* Blennerhassett M. So Why Don’t Cancer Patients Complain? LinkUp,
* Blennerhassett M. Training Doctors: What are your Rights as a Patient?
LinkUp, Cancerlink, 1996, 44.
* Blennerhassett M. Damaged Goods. LinkUp, Cancerlink. Poem 1997, 48.
York Forum for Older People Newsheet 2002
Ryedale Forum for Older People Newsheet 2002
Ryedale Voluntary Action News 2001/2
York Council for Voluntary Service News 2001/2
North Yorkshire Forum for Voluntary Organisations Newsletter
Reviewer, British Medical Journal (research articles) Macmillan Cancer Support (books).
Former reviewer, CancerBacup Patient information booklets.
‘The Bulletin’, Journal of the Royal College of Pathologists:
July 2012 The Good doctor. Donald Paterson. Radcliffe Publishing.
February 2012 The Knowledgeable Patient. Communication and
Participation in Health, a Cochrane Handbook edited by Sophie Hill.
January 2004 The Doctor’s Tale: professionalism and public trust.
Donald Irvine. Radcliffe Medical Press 2003.
January 2003 Skills for Communicating with Patients.
Silverman, J, Kurtz S, Draper J. Radcliffe Medical Press 1998.
July 2003. Doctors and Patients: an Anthology,
Editor Cecil Helman. Radcliffe Medical Press 2003.)
The Lancet 2001
BMJ online numerous
Student BMJ 1997
Health Service Journal 1996
CancerBacup News 2004
Macmillan Cancer VOICES 2004, 2005.
Media letters: The Times 24 April 2007. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/debate/letters/article1695280.ece
1995 Cancer Services from the User Perspective (circulated to statutory health organisation, North and West Yorkshire).
Use of personal poetry in Healthcare
2004 Blennerhassett M. Vinegar and Brown Paper; reflections of a cancer experience. Used in medical education and to inform stakeholders’ design of new cancer wing, St James’ Hospital, Leeds.
2006 CD production –music Redstone M, and poetry reading from Vinegar and Brown Paper poems, Blennerhassett M. Sold in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the Lymphoedema Support Network.
2009 Runner up – International Journal of Palliative Care Volunteer/Patient/Carer of the Year Award.
2009 Winner, Medical Journalists’ Association, Open Book Awards 2009, Self Help Section (Nothing Personal, disturbing undercurrents in cancer care, Radcliffe Publishing 2008).
2005 ‘Friend of the Royal College of Pathologists’.
2004 The National Blood Service ‘Certificate for support in helping to save
and improve so many lives’
2002 North Yorkshire Health Authority Modernisation Board Top Award
(£8.000) for Cancer Concern self help and support group (services to cancer
2000 All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer Individual
Commendation for outstanding service in the fight against breast
1999 All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer Group Commendation,
Cancer Concern self help and support group, for services to breast cancer
Andy Corner-Walker Memorial Prize (Art).
2008, 2012 INVOLVE conferences, Nottingham Conference Centre. Co-facilitator, performance workshops based on issues around radiotherapy safety and screening mammography.
2004, 2008, 2009 Facilitator, ‘Where’s the Person’ Art Therapy and ‘Spit-it-Out’ Writing Therapy workshops annual Macmillan Cancer Support sponsored National 4-day Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups, Manchester.
2004 User Involvement co-facilitated workshop: Macmillan ‘Playing Your Part’
PRESENTATIONS including involvement in Medical Education
1999 National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (USA) 4-day 2nd World Conference, Brussels. ‘Influencing Change’ (breast cancer: deficiencies in access, diagnosis and treatment and difficulties in effecting change)
Local and National
2005 NHS Pathology Service Improvement, Birmingham. Sowing the Seeds, Reaping the Harvest (joint presentation).
2004 Humber & Yorkshire Coast Cancer Network, Hull. Tribute to Pete Madeley.
2004 Department of Health, Involve conference: People at the heart of
research – soapbox presentation – ‘Lymphoedema’, NHS best-kept secret.
2004 RCGP Patient Partnership Group, London: Lymphoedema – patient needs and Services
2004 Royal College of Pathologists, LAC Induction Day. User Involvement.
2004 RCGP Thames Valley Faculty, Oxford: Celebrate the Breadth of Primary Care. Choice (including ‘Lymphoedema, patient needs and Services’).
2004 Scarborough & NE Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust with
Scarborough Whitby Ryedale Primary Care Trust: ‘Patient Knows Best’ –
Why User Involvement?
Yorkshire Cancer Network User Partnership Group: Lymphoedema-
patient needs and Services
2003 North Trent Cancer Research Network Consumer Research Panel, University of Sheffield, Supportive Care in Cancer – Are consumers getting
a good deal?(Psychological Support for Cancer Patients and Carers).
2003 The Royal College of Pathologists Lay Advisory Committee (LAC) Symposium, Patients, the Public and Pathologists. User Involvement: benefits, barriers and consuming passions. Complaints: Handling Complaints from the Public. RCPath, London
2002 Consumers in NHS Research, Harrogate Conference Centre: multi-issue.
1999 CancerBACUP Conference: Institute of Physicians, London ‘Freedom from Pain’ (pain and related issues), (quoted at ‘Britain Against Cancer’ conference, 2001, The Observer Magazine, November 2001); MP Reception, Portcullis House, London
1999 Eighth Conference of the Federation of Infection Societies, Manchester, ‘Single-Use Equipment’ workshop lay perspective
1999 Royal College of Pathologists, ‘Aspirations of Cytology’.
1998 CancerBACUP ‘Freedom From Pain Charter’ press launch, Royal Society of Medicine, London (pain and related issues) -narrative used for pain relief fund-raising.
1998 Consumers in NHS Research, ‘Research: What’s in it for me’, Standing Advisory Group on Consumer Involvement in NHS Research and Development, NHS Executive conference, Kensington Town Hall, London: multi-issue.
1998 Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Community Health Council,
Malton, N Yorkshire (breast cancer)
1998 Countrywomen’s Guild, Slingsby, North Yorkshire (cancer and
1997 Association of Community Health Councils England and Wales National Conference, Bournemouth (doctors practising new procedures: informed consent)
1997 NHS Research & Development, QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, London ‘The Buck Stops Here’ (G P ‘too-late referrals’)
1995 Harrogate & York Community Health Councils, Novotel York, ‘Patient Transport Services’, (cancer patient transport)
Involvement in Medical Education – speaker/participant
2004 University of Leeds – patient input into nurses’ education.
2004 University of Teeside – communication skills in palliative care (nurses).
2002 Simulated Patient, Medical Education Unit, University of Leeds (communication)
2001 GP Palliative Care 2-day Masterclass, Jersey, Channel Islands (pain relief)
2001 Macmillan G P Facilitator 2-day training (cancer pain relief) – York
2000 Continuing Medical Education (GP), York Health Services NHS Trust (communication)
1996 Communication Issues in Cancer Care, York University, York. (communication)
1999 Bachelor of Arts, Visual Studies, University of Lincolnshire & Humberside
Further education/vocational training
Art: 1992-94 P/T Vocational Course Part 1 Art & Design – Upper Credit,
York College of Further & Higher Education
– Andy Corner-Walker Memorial Prize.
1991 Royal Society of Arts Counselling Skills Certificate.
numerous Cancerlink supportive care courses (listening and responding/telephone
support/bereavement counselling etc)
1991 Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People
(CACDP) Stage 1.
– 1952 The Royal Drawing Society Group III, Stage 1, Honours Standard.
– 1953 The Royal Drawing Society Group III, Stage 2, Honours
1991 City & Guilds of London Institute ALBSU, Adult Literacy Basic Skills Unit,
Initial Certificate in Teaching Basic Communication Skills (teaching literacy)
1996 Cancerlink: ‘Training the Trainer’ Certificate (teaching listening skills)
2000 Cancerlink CancerVoices User-Involvement Course sponsored by North Yorkshire Health Authority.
1994-2002 Community Health Council/Association of Community Health Councils England and Wales – numerous NHS/partnership-working courses.
1992 Social Services Child Fostering
1992 Victim Support Visiting
Additional previous and current affiliations
Ryedale University of the Third Age (U3A)
UK Breast Cancer Coalition
International Alliance of Patients’ Organisations
World Health Organisation, Patients’ Organisations Group