100 days to go: cancer care must be a priority

Macmillan’s Public Affairs team is consumed with excitement!  Today marks 100 days until the General Election and our team has been working around the clock to ensure that cancer care is a top priority for all political parties. But, we know that the final lap is always the hardest and that there is still much more to do to ensure the lives and experiences of people affected by cancer are truly at the heart of the next Government and its health policies.

The campaign so far

In the past few months we have engaged with politicians and decision makers from across the Houses which has led to a number of announcements on cancer.  The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, set out his ambition for ‘Britain to be among the best in Europe for cancer survival’ and shortly before Christmas he stated that compassionate care and supporting older people were two of the main pillars of his plan for the NHS, with a focus on treating every patient with dignity and respect.

Similarly, the Shadow Secretary of State, Andy Burnham, highlighted his aim to have the best survival rates in Europe and the creation of a ‘right to die at home’ where it is clinically safe to do so.  At the Britain Against Cancer conference, Burnham presented his party’s outline for a new cancer manifesto that supported the principle of patients being treated with dignity and the need to support NHS staff, amongst other measures.

The Liberal Democrats too have made positive steps on prioritising cancer care. Their party conference at the end of last year passed a policy paper calling for the introduction of free social care for people on an end of life care register and the Liberal Democrat Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, has spoken of his determination to see this policy become a reality.

The next 100 days

These announcements are all positive steps in the right direction; however, it is time for all political parties to put their money where their mouth is to protect people affected by cancer.  With 100 days to go until the General Election, we know that the battleground will be focused on the key issues that are of utmost importance for the electorate. But we want our campaign to go beyond party politics because saving lives and providing support to all the mothers, fathers, friends and neighbours who are or have been affected by cancer should be a priority for everyone.

In this last leg before the Election, Macmillan looks forward to seeing the parties publish their manifestos and the supportive policies they must contain. We hope that you will join us in encouraging them to set out the way in which the country’s cancer outcomes can become the best in Europe, how all patients will be treated with dignity and respect and how people will be given the right support to spend their final days at home if so they choose.

So visit our campaign website and see how you can get involved and help spread our messages to ensure that improving cancer care is a top priority for whoever is elected in May.   Visit macmillan.org.uk/generalelection2015

Alexandra Cardenas – parliament@macmillan.org.uk

27 January 2015

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