Our ethos at brainstrust is that ‘we’re none of us as smart as all of us’, so when it comes to driving through change at policy level we know it is good to be part of a coalition so that one voice becomes many. We can be louder together. That’s why, along with over 60 other charities, we are speaking with One Cancer Voice to respond to the changes in the 10 Year Cancer Plan.
On World Cancer Day (4 Feb 2022) the Government declared ‘a war on cancer’ and committed to the 10 Year Cancer Plan for England. This outlined how as a nation we were going to address the varied challenges that people diagnosed and living with cancer were facing. You can see our initial response here.
In September 2022, as part of the One Cancer Voice coalition (a group of 47 cancer charities), we wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and the Secretary of State highlighting our collective, shared asks for the Spending Review, so that the 10 year cancer plan could become a reality with the proper investment needed. These asks specifically focused on the Government responding urgently to the challenges facing the cancer community post COVID and improving outcomes for patients by:
- Growing the cancer workforce
- Levelling up on cancer to address socio-economic factors
- Strengthening investment in cancer research and development
- Improving cancer care to achieve excellent psychosocial care and recommitting to the cancer care commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan.
We were very clear about the actions that the Government needed to take.
This week (6 February 2023) we had a response that followed the Government announcement on 24 January that the 10 Year Cancer Plan had become the part of the ‘5 year Major Conditions Strategy’. This sets out a shift to integrated whole person care (positive), but cancer has become subsumed into the major conditions that contribute to the burden of disease (negative). There is little to reassure us in the response that cancer will be at the forefront of transformative change; it talks about combining commitments on mental health, cancer, dementia and health disparities, so that there is one single powerful strategy. And it references the call for evidence which was run this time last year.
So to quote Our Cancer Voice’s response to the Major Conditions Strategy announcement:
‘We are devastated to have gone from anticipating a detailed 10 year strategy, dedicated wholly to transforming us into a ‘world- leading’ force in cancer care, to one part in a strategy spanning a huge range of conditions.’
We want the Prime Minister to commit to taking action to dramatically improve the experience and outcomes of people affected by cancer. We have come together to call on the UK Government to put the needs of cancer patients first by:
- Ensuring the upcoming Major Conditions Strategy is ambitious, fully-funded and listens to the voices and evidence of the cancer community.
- Committing to a longer-term strategy for cancer which focuses on transforming cancer research, diagnosis, treatment and patient experience.
You can join the campaign by signing the petition, hosted by Cancer Research UK. The petition is being supported and shared by over 60 cancer charities, uniting together as One Cancer Voice. Sign the petition here: https://bit.ly/OCVPetitionFeb
We will watch this space, ever mindful of the need to hear the voice of the brain tumour community in this space.