The recent CLIC Sargent campaign rightly highlights the need for better access to emotional and mental health support for young cancer patients and their families. At the General Election in June I stood on a manifesto that pledged at least an extra £1 billion spending for mental health services, with a commitment to increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people. I also support the right to a specialised care plan for everyone with a long-term condition.
Labour’s manifesto also promised to rebuild our social security system to provide dignity and security to people who become sick or disabled. This included a commitment to replacing the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan.
In September 2016 CLIC Sargent published its shocking Cancer Costs report which found that financial anxiety for those with children living with cancer is a daily reality for almost all the families it surveyed. The government needs to listen carefully and respond to the concerns raised by children and parents, and consider the recommendations that have been made by CLIC Sargent on how to make improvements in this vital area.
I will continue to press the government to improve treatment and support for young cancer patients and their families and ensure that treating cancer remains at the top of the political agenda.