By Gus Baldwin – Head of Public Affairs
In exactly 50 days time we get to vote for the next UK Government.
Various commentators have offered their opinions on the outcome including Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer last Sunday who thinks there will be no winner, only a ‘best loser’.
At Macmillan we don’t mind who wins or loses the General Election but we think it is crucial that the political outcome doesn’t negatively affect the lives of cancer patients across the UK.
That’s why we’ve been encouraging all political parties to support our three General Election calls. So that, whichever party wins, or whichever combination of parties win, people with cancer and their families and carers won’t lose out.
Prioritising cancer matters. It matters because between now and the General Election around 50,000 people will be told they have cancer*.
That’s more than just a statistic. It’s the people we love, care and work with.
It’s 50,000 best mates, 50,000 neighbours, 50,000 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, brothers, sisters and colleagues. These people matter, and the issues that are most important to them matter too.
Sadly too many of these people will have been diagnosed too late or will be shown a lack of compassion whilst going through treatment. And 12,000 will unfortunately die from the cancer**. Of those, around three quarters of them will have wanted to die at home but only a quarter will actually be able to do so.
What’s even more frustrating is that we also know that most of those who die in expensive hospital beds have no medical need to be there. And the care they’ll receive isn’t even as good as the care they get at home.
The main reason people die in hospitals is because they get stuck in the system without access to the proper support they, and their families, need to be looked after at home.
As a result, around nine thousand families between now and 7 May will have to live with the guilt of knowing they couldn’t meet the dying wish of the person they loved. This simply isn’t fair.
At Macmillan we think it is high time the political parties made a choice.
We’re calling on party leaders to show they’re not happy for cancer survival rates to fall behind the rest of Europe, patients to be treated unfairly or to accept an end of life system which is failing families up and down the country.
Instead, we want them to support our three General Election calls:
- Cancer outcomes that match the best in Europe.
- For all cancer patients to be treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect.
- Free social care for people at the end of their life.
And we think it is time that everyone else made a choice too.
Instead of ducking behind the sofa when your local candidate rings your doorbell, ask them whether their party supports Macmillan’s calls, and then look out for the calls in their party’s manifesto.
You can also get more involved in Macmillan’s campaign here.
Over the next 49 days every community across the UK will be affected by cancer. On day 50 it will be time for all of us to choose how we respond.
Head of Public Affairs
Parliament@macmillan.org.uk – @MacmillanPA
*Macmillan Cancer Support. For full reference see www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/News/Latest_News/Athousandpeopleadaydiagnosedwithcancerbyendof2016.aspx|
The 50,000 figure is based on the estimated number of new cases a day at 25 days into the 50-day period.
**Cancer Research UK. Cancer mortality projections for all cancers combined.
(accessed January 2015)