Our commitments

Statement from Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive

Like millions of people across the world, I have been shocked and appalled at the death of George Floyd in the US and recent events - I can’t even begin to imagine the impact of the last few weeks on Black people everywhere. The Black Lives Matter campaign has highlighted the racism and injustice that so many of my Black colleagues, Macmillan’s health care professionals, and Black people living with cancer face on a daily basis.

Like so many people, I have been thinking hard over the past couple of weeks about what I - and Macmillan as an organisation - can do more of, so that we can better serve and represent Black people and other ethnic minority communities. Our purpose is to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can, which is why I believe this is such an important issue that we must urgently address.

Successive Cancer Patient Experience Surveys (CPES) show that Black and minority ethnic cancer patients in Britain have poorer experiences of cancer services than their White counterparts. These include delays in diagnosis and referrals to hospital doctors, the provision of information, as well as access to much-needed help and support. Macmillan’s own research also confirmed this last year. These inequalities in cancer care are wrong and must urgently be addressed, to make lasting change.

We know that Macmillan can’t solve these complex issues alone, but we have a responsibility to do more to create change and deliver better outcomes for all people living with cancer. As a major employer in the third sector, a well-known and trusted charity, a funder of 10,000 health care professionals, and a provider of support to 1.9m people with cancer each year, we must commit to doing everything we can to level the playing field. We must commit to using our voice on behalf of those that are under-served, under-represented and marginalised.

At Macmillan we strongly believe that words are meaningless without actions; we want to ensure that we can proudly back up our words with concrete commitments that we can be held to account on. We also know that change starts at home: we are better placed to take action when diversity and inclusion is part of who we are.

To help address all of these issues, I am setting out five clear commitments.

Make tackling inequality a core goal for every Macmillan service

Change starts with the vital services we provide to people living with cancer. Whilst we have a number of individual initiatives around the country that help to tackle inequality, we will introduce a coordinated national approach which will require any new service we introduce to clearly demonstrate how it will tackle inequalities.

Focus on addressing the root causes

We will influence and challenge the health and social care system and Governments in all four nations to tackle the root causes and impact of health inequality.

More representative activities

We will review all our fundraising and volunteering activities, information and communications to ensure they represent and are relevant to all of the communities we are here to serve.

Greater diversity in healthcare

We want to help improve diversity in the health care workplace by actively engaging and supporting people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to become Macmillan professionals and supporting those that already are.

Placing diversity & inclusion at the heart of our organisation

We will break down our own internal systems and barriers to ensure we are a truly inclusive organisation. I will personally take responsibility for delivering better equality, diversity and inclusion and will lead a new internal steering group that includes trustees and staff across the organisation to help drive this agenda. We will also recruit a new Head of Diversity and Inclusion, to ensure that we have a dedicated focus and expertise at a senior level of the organisation.

This is an urgent issue and one we must get right. Change won’t happen overnight; it will take time and it will require significant and continuous effort from everyone at Macmillan. But we know that we need to do more to make meaningful change, and are committed to listening, engaging and doing better.