Policy blog: Day three at the 2018 Labour Party annual conference

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Kielan Arblaster, our Policy & Public Affairs Assistant, reports from day three at the 2018 Labour Party annual conference

With the last full day at the conference, the Policy team were kept busy apprising MPs and conference goers on our pioneering BRIAN project and the importance of data sharing in improving brain tumour patient care and accelerating research.

We highlighted the importance and potential of BRIAN for brain tumour research to Paul Sweeney MP, Shadow Parliamentary Under Secretary to the State for Scotland, who in turn pledged to support The Charity in any way he could following two of his constituents diagnosed with glioblastomas.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP quizzed us on BRIAN and in what was the global databank can improve the outcomes for patients with a brain tumour.

We also spoke to and informed Nic Dakin MP, George Howarth MP, David Lammy MP, Neil Findlay MSP, Diane Abbott MP, Gordon Marsden MP and John Healey MP (pictured) on the current work of The Charity and how they can help our community moving forward.

Lastly, Lyn Brown MP claimed top space on our 'crack the code' game, coming in at a mightily impressive time of just 10 seconds.

One delegate approached us to find out more about BRIAN after sadly losing their sister to a glioblastoma.

Having already signed up to The Twilight Walk in Windsor, they were passionate to find out more about the work of The Charity, congratulating us on our fantastic Support & Information services.

We also engaged with a neuroscientist, fascinated by BRIAN and its potential to benefit thousands of patients with a brain tumour.

At the fringe events, the Policy team attended Labour's drug policy talk which analysed what the future holds for this contentious policy sphere.

An encouraging theme emerged; the future of drug policy should be held in the hands of the Department of Health and not the Home Office to ensure it is overseen by people with the expertise and mandate to prioritise health.

Keir Starmer MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, told a hall of delegates 'there can be no adequate response to the referendum unless the right deal worth the EU is matched by a new deal for Britain'.

We know from speaking with researchers and clinicians whatever Brexit looks like it is vitally important the UK is a hub for science and technology and that we are still able to attract world class talent.

We also know that for rare diseases it will be vitally important that clinical trials are able to continue across European borders, as there simply aren't enough patients for most to be able to conduct studies in one nation alone.

As we look forward to the last day, the team will continue to inform Members of Parliament on the importance of data sharing to ensure BRIAN gets the data it needs and the recognition it deserves.

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