We work with UK Parliament

Macmillan brings the voice of people affected by cancer to Parliament. We work with Government and politicians to improve care and support at every stage of their experience living with cancer.

How we support MPs and Peers

The Houses of Parliament, UK

The Public Affairs team supports and works with MPs and Peers to reach as many people affected by cancer as possible.

We can help you by arranging:

Get in touch

You can email the team at parliament@macmillan.org.uk.

Our priorities in Parliament

    • Improving choice at the end of life
      The majority of people (64%) want to die at home, however less than a third (30%) are able to do so. Each year in England, an estimated 48,000 people experience poor care in the final 3 months of their lives. And more than 12,500 cancer patients (10% of those who die in England each year) spend the last 2 days of their lives without adequate pain relief. This must be urgently addressed.

      Consensus has grown around the urgent need for Government action to address the lack of choice at end of life. It is also widely accepted that if more people are treated in a community setting then savings can be made in the acute sector.

      In July 2016 the Government published their response to the Independent Review of Choice in End of Life Care [PDF]. This report sets out a new ‘National Commitment’ based on everyone at the end of life receiving high quality care tailored to their needs and wishes.

      However, over a year has passed since this commitment was made. There is still a long way to go to translate the Government’s recommendations into tangibly better care for patients.

      Our new report ‘Missed Opportunities’, outlines the vital role Advance Care Planning (ACP) can play in ensuring a dying person’s wishes are met. It explores the barriers to early advance care planning discussions among people approaching the end of life and health and social care professionals.

      The individual stories that have been shared in this report show how giving someone genuine choice about how and where they are cared for in their final days can allow them to achieve a ‘good’ death. However, they also reveal how a failure to plan for an individual’s final weeks and days can have numerous and costly consequences.

      The report sets out recommendations for governments across the UK to fulfil their existing commitments on ACP. It also sets out aims to support health and social care professionals to have early ACP conversations.
    • A fully implemented Cancer Strategy
      On Sunday 19 July 2015 the Independent Cancer Taskforce published a new report called Achieving world-class cancer outcomes - A strategy for England 2015-2020 [PDF, 4.90 Mb]. This sets out a proposed new five-year Cancer Strategy for England.

      Macmillan was part of the taskforce and welcomed the report as it covers the whole pathway and has a strong emphasis on patient experience and survivorship.

      The strategy document is a very important step towards improving cancer care in England. Macmillan will continue to work to support the implementation of the Cancer Strategy and ensure that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s commitments to the recommendations are acted upon. This includes ensuring that everyone has access to the Recovery Package by 2020 and the development of a Quality of Life metric by 2017. We will work with other charities, the NHS and government to ensure that we can make the potential of the Cancer Strategy into a reality for patients.
    • Money and cancer
      Four out of five people living with cancer are on average £570 worse off per month as a result of loss of income and increased costs.

      Many people struggle to cope with this significant financial impact, which creates additional pressure at a time when they should be focusing on their treatment and recovery. Our research found that 43% of those who experienced a financial impact of cancer said it had a detrimental effect on their overall health.

      With the number of people living with cancer set to grow from 2.5 million to 4 million by 2030, it’s vital that we take action now to make sure everyone affected by cancer gets the financial help and support they need, when they need it.

      Macmillan is working to address this – for example:
      • by raising awareness with people affected by cancer
      • working with health and social care professionals
      • and ensuring people get the help they need through the benefits system.
      However, we cannot solve this problem alone.

      Macmillan’s report No Small Change [PDF] outlines what governments, health bodies and the financial services industry should do to help people facing the financial impact of cancer.

      In particular, we are calling for:
      • people affected by cancer to be made aware of the financial impact of cancer and signposted to the appropriate financial information, guidance, or advice at key points in their journey
      • the benefits system to operate effectively and to provide an adequate level of support for people affected by cancer
      • the banking and insurance sectors to do more to ensure their customers with cancer have consistently positive outcomes.         
    • Support for carers
      There are nearly 1.5 million people in the UK looking after a family member, friend or neighbour living with cancer. They provide on average 17.5 hours of care each week.

      Yet many don’t see themselves as carers and often aren’t identified by health and social care professionals. This means that carers can miss out on vital emotional, financial or practical support and don’t know where to turn when they need help. Their finances, family life and ability to work can all be affected, leading to problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. They may even reach breaking point and become ill themselves.

      No one should have to cope on their own when caring for someone with cancer.

      Latest report

      In September 2016, Macmillan published a new report entitled ‘Under Pressure: The growing strain on cancer carers’, which highlights the challenges that carers for people living with cancer face and how the system can move towards better supporting them.         

      Across the four nations:

      The Westminster Government is currently developing a new Carers’ Strategy for England which is due to be published by the end of the year. Macmillan has submitted evidence to support the development of the strategy. Macmillan continues to work with local authorities, the voluntary sector and the government to ensure that the strategy recognises the vital role that cancer carers play in our society.

      In Scotland, Macmillan is working to ensure that the new Carers Act is fully implemented. In Wales we are working to shape new legislation to improve how carers’ needs are met by local services. In Northern Ireland, Macmillan is working collaboratively with other third sector organisations to call for the introduction of legislation to improve the lives of carers.  

      If you’d like to know more about our work on carers including the support we can offer to carers living in your constituency, please get in touch with us.

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