Monday 10th September 2012
Macmillan’s Change Cancer Care Today campaign put cancer care firmly on the agenda at this year’s national elections – Communications Officer for Wales Becky Land explains.
We had huge successes following our election campaigns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Political parties in Wales and Northern Ireland committed to many of our election calls, and we received strong support from parties in Scotland.
In the run up to the elections in May, we wanted to show all the political parties why and how they could make a real difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. Working with professionals and people affected by cancer, we developed a number of key objectives aimed at improving cancer care in the three nations. See below for details.
In Scotland, the campaign kicked off with a ‘party election broadcast’ style video featuring people affected by cancer. This resulted in extensive media coverage including the film being broadcast on Scottish TV.
Our e-campaign also generated a very positive response from all the main parties, including the re-elected Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP. Just as our campaign went into full swing in early April, the Scottish Government announced an additional £400,000 of funding for our benefit services in Scotland.
In Northern Ireland, the outgoing Executive added all Macmillan’s manifesto asks into the Cancer Services Framework, including making a commitment to offering benefits advice and access to a cancer nurse specialist.
We also had a positive response from the parties. Our e-campaigners were busy sending a film of people affected by cancer to party health spokespeople and candidates in all 18 constituencies. This resulted in our manifesto asks being included in four out of the five main party manifestos.
In Wales, there was strong support from all parties to Macmillan’s manifesto asks. A high-profile campaign saw blanket media coverage for the Change Cancer Care Today report. This, together with lobbying from e-campaigners, resulted in commitments from all four parties to some or all of our election calls. This includes a national cancer strategy, better information and support, regular assessments and support for people affected by cancer from a key worker.
Campaigns round up Labour, who went on to win the election in Wales, committed to all four of our election calls and explicitly committed to working with Macmillan to implement them. The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives committed to a cancer plan for Wales, and Plaid Cymru committed to using a patient-centred approach, including one-to-one personal care from a key worker and advice from the moment of diagnosis.
Elspeth Atkinson, Director Celtic Nations, said, ‘With the election of a majority SNP Government and commitments from the DUP and Sinn Fein, we are well placed in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to continue our work to ensure people with cancer have access to a cancer nurse specialist, information / benefits advice and proper follow-up care.’
Macmillan is now working hard to build on these successes. We will be working with the governments to ensure their commitments translate into better care for people affected by cancer throughout Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Read more about the Change Cancer Care campaign or email Becky for more information.