Wednesday, 7 July 2010

All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer

On Tuesday I was at the House of Commons for a reception held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer. The All Party Groups I have been associated with are very effective. They bring together MPs and members of the Lords and the charities and others with an interest in the subject. In this case and the case of the group on breast cancer – this is very much the patients as well.

Paul Burstow MP, who is the Health Minister with responsibility for cancer, announced that the Government will update the Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS). The original strategy was a huge piece of work to which we all contributed and it is really encouraging that the new government is planning to build on that rather than start from scratch.

A White Paper on Health will be published shortly and we understand that the update to the Cancer Reform Strategy will focus on aligning cancer services with the reforms that will be announced in this White Paper. It is really good news for the sector and for patients that the update process will be led by Professor Sir Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, as he has been a tremendous influence for good in forming policy.

There was talk of making cancer outcomes the best in Europe and dealing with inequalities in care – something which we have been campaigning about for some time. Access to treatments was also mentioned and there was a very moving presentation from an individual who had kidney cancer and had to fight twice for the drugs which have kept him alive – and having a good quality of life.

I won’t say “watch this space” but rather watch out for the White Paper and then for the revision to the Cancer Reform Strategy which will be out sometime in the winter.

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