Campaign success stories

We’ve spoken out against prescription charges, welfare cuts and the lack of support for carers. And with your help we’ve really changed things for the better.

Campaigning is one way Macmillan works to improve cancer care for all. We want to make sure the right policy and practice is in place to enable the best possible care and support for everyone affected by cancer.

2015 General Election

With your support, we made cancer care a priority for the new government.

With your help, we brought the voices of people affected by cancer to the heart of the 2015 general election and kept cancer on the political agenda. Thanks to your support, all of the main political parties in England made broad manifesto commitments to improving health and social care. This meant that the new government has committed to improving cancer care for all

In 2016, more elections will take place in the devolved nations. Find out what Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (Cymru) are campaigning for.

Put the Fair into Welfare: Welfare Reform Act 2012

In 2011 the government announced plans to make sweeping changes to the welfare system. Macmillan agreed that the system needed to be simplified. But the proposals, laid out in the Welfare Reform Bill, could have pushed some people with cancer and their families into poverty.

That’s why we campaigned to ‘Put the Fair into Welfare’.

With your support, we made cancer care a priority for the new government. And we couldn’t have done it without you.

Here's an overview of what we've achieved so far...

Lynn Laing standing outside her house. Lynn was helped by ESA WRAG benefits whilst she was recovering from cancer.

Welfare in 2016

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Some people with cancer were to lose their Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) after just one year.

For many, one year isn’t long enough to recover from cancer and they rely on the financial support from ESA whilst they are still medically assessed as too ill to work.

What we achieved: We secured a commitment from the Government that more cancer patients would be placed in the ESA Support Group, where support is unconditional and not time-limited.

Without ESA we would have been homeless.

Lynn, Edinburgh


People with cancer were treated differently

People with cancer undergoing debilitating cancer treatment were being treated differently by the benefits system depending on how their treatment was administered. This was unfair.

What we achieved: We secured a commitment from the government that people awaiting, undergoing and recovering from all types of chemotherapy and radiotherapy would be placed in the Support Group regardless of how their treatment was administered.


Plans for a six month wait for financial support

It was proposed that people with cancer would have to wait six months before applying to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This is the benefit paid to people who have additional costs because of a disability or long term health condition. Under the previous Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefit the wait was only three months.

What we achieved: We successfully campaigned for this to be reduced to three months because people shouldn’t have to wait longer if they need help to cover the additional costs of living with a disability or long term condition.


Carers Campaign Success

Many people don’t see themselves as carers and often aren’t identified by health and social care professionals. This means they miss out on vital emotional, financial or practical support and don’t know where to turn for help. Without support many carers struggle to cope.

Since 2013 we have campaigned to improve identification and support for cancer carers across the UK and, with your help, we have made a real difference.

England – The Care Act 2014

In the run up to the Care Act 2014 we successfully campaigned to make sure this England only legislation contained new measures to improve the identification and signposting to support of people looking after a loved one with cancer. 

You can see some of the things we campaigned to change in our report, Do you care? [PDF, 1.92 MB]. The Care Act 2014 and its statutory guidance came into effect in April 2015. Under the guidance, local authorities and health bodies in England must now work together to identify carers, provide them with information and signpost them to support.

We have continued to campaign to make sure the legislation is effectively implemented so that everyone in England caring for someone with cancer gets the support they need. 

Find out more about how we are tackling the carers’ crisis


Scotland – The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

In Scotland, Macmillan worked with other charities to influence the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 . This new law should mean more carers get a ‘Carer’s Support Plan’ to give them social and financial help.  Now that this has been passed into law by the Scottish Parliament, we’ll work closely with the new Integrated Joint Boards across Scotland to make sure it’s put it into practice.

Find out more about our work in Scotland


Wales – The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014

Macmillan worked with the Wales Carers Alliance to help influence a major new law in Wales - the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act. It’s a big step forwards and means all carers in Wales will now get an assessment of their needs as carers, regardless of the type or amount of caring they do, as well as receiving information and advice or a support plan. We’ll keep on working with the Wales Carers Alliance, the Welsh Government and carers themselves make sure this new law makes a difference for cancer carers in Wales.  

Find out more about our work in Wales.


Free prescriptions

Cancer patients in the UK are now entitled to free prescriptions. We did it together.

'It was the most wonderful news to hear that after all our campaigning for free prescriptions, the government listened. I'd been going without some of my medications because I couldn't afford them all. This news was such a relief.'- Fiona, E-campaigner

Following the success of our prescription charges campaign, cancer patients in England, like those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are also entitled to free prescriptions. We encourage all cancer patients undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment to apply for an exemption certificate. Since 2005 Macmillan has campaigned in all four nations of the UK to overturn this tax on illness and end prescription charges.

Find out how you can access your free prescription.

A pharmacists collects medicines from a basket

We did it together

We have information about how you can access free prescriptions and other help with health costs.

Find out more

Become an e-campaigner

If you’d like to become an e-campaigner to be kept up to date with our work, sign up here.

By being part of the network you will have the opportunity to take action and make a real difference.

Just fill in the details in our form and we will keep you up to date with ways in which you can support our campaigns. You'll also get the latest news from our campaigns through our e-newsletter every two months.