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 of 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.


Care Act Success

Following our high profile campaign, we successfully called for a change to the Care Act to improve the support received by people looking after a loved one with cancer. 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.

This was an important first step but, with any law, it only makes a difference if it’s put into practice. We have continued to campaign to make sure the legislation is effectively implemented so that everyone in England caring for someone with cancer get the support they need. 

Find out more about our Tackle the Carers’ Crisis campaign.

Sharon is a carer. She helps her mother, who has cancer, do the supermarket shop.

Thank you to the thousands of campaigners who took action.

Our campaign

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.