Thursday 8th October 2015
Over the past few weeks we've been in Brighton and Manchester to meet with MPs, contribute to debates and discuss the key issues that impact on young people with cancer. We also marked Teenage Cancer Action Week by inviting politicians from across all parties to take action against cancer in young people. Read on to find out more, and you can get in touch by email.
Conservative party conference
This year's Conservative conference took place in Manchester at the beginning of October. While activity outside of the conference was dominating many of the headlines, we joined other charities, journalists and party delegates inside the conference zone to hear from Ministers and MPs about their priorities as a newly formed majority Government.
We heard from the Conservative health team who spoke about the importance of equity within the NHS. Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, spoke a number of times about how this means that, not only should everyone have equal access to care, but that the care that people experience should be of the highest standard. Our work supports this principle – we are calling for every young person with cancer to have access to the best possible care, wherever they live, and the support we deliver outside of our specialist units does just that. We'll be continuing to engage with both Conservative MPs and others to embed this vital service model within the health service.
We also took the opportunity to meet with a range of other influencers to talk about our work, including think tank 2020health, and independent health consultant and ex-MP Paul Burstow. We spoke with them about the importance of holistic care for young people with health conditions – the cornerstone of our approach to delivering services. Our second day in Manchester featured meetings with two Royal Colleges: the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health. We chatted about a range of topics, including the importance of improving the diagnosis experience for young people with cancer, and the need for more and better data to be made available on young people's health.
Labour party conference
It might seem strange that a party who had just lost an election would be so excited at their annual conference, but Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader has turned everything on its head for Labour. We spent a busy 24 hours in Brighton, soaking up the atmosphere and hearing from members of the new Shadow Cabinet team who are settling into their new roles. As well as popping into the main hall to see the conference speeches, we went to a lot of events in the conference fringe to talk to the new Shadow Ministers, MPs and other policy influencers about our work.
Heidi Alexander, the new Shadow Secretary of State for Health, told delegates that the NHS was at a crisis point and that it needed more funding. She agreed with our suggestion that teenagers and young people need more education about health problems and showed her support for Teenage Cancer Action Week. We also heard from Lucy Powell, the new Shadow Secretary for Education, who spoke about her commitment to statutory PSHE lessons in schools, which is a key way of educating young people about health conditions such as cancer.
In his speech to the conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that it was time for a more inclusive type of politics and for more people to be able to express their opinions in policymaking; we'll continue to work with politicians from across all parties to raise awareness of the key policy priorities for young people with cancer.
Politicians are taking action against cancer in young people
Huge thanks to politicians across the UK who have taken part in this year's Teenage Cancer Action Week!