The Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay, recently announced the government would be publishing a Major Conditions Strategy. One of the six major conditions outlined in the announcement is cancer. This may sound like good news but not when you consider what it means for England’s 10-Year Cancer Plan.
What is the Major Conditions Strategy?
Last year on World Cancer Day, the government declared a ‘war on cancer’ and committed to publishing a 10-Year Cancer Plan for England, which aimed to set out a long-term approach for cancer services and could have a transformational impact on brain tumour patients. But the Major Conditions Strategy marks the cancellation of such a plan; one that was solely focused on tackling the challenges in cancer care across England. We are incredibly disappointed.
By looking at cancer care as one of six major conditions, instead of its own dedicated plan, the government risks watering down not only the ambition, but the long-term impact we could have on improving cancer patient care. The original Cancer Plan promised a ten-year strategy while the new Major Conditions Strategy has reduced the window to five years, potentially jeopardising the ability to make lasting change in key fundamental areas that desperately need it.
And this could have a knock-on impact for those affected by brain tumours. If cancer as a whole doesn’t get the full and comprehensive plan it needs, then the strategy risks losing the nuances and individual focus on particular cancers and cancer groups that already find themselves left behind.
That’s why we have joined up with other charities to call upon the government to uphold the promises previously laid out within the 10-Year Cancer Plan and commit to dramatically improve the experiences and outcomes for people affected by cancer. The petition, hosted by Cancer Research UK, is being supported and shared by over 60 cancer charities, uniting together as One Cancer Voice.
What we need the UK government to do
As part of the One Cancer Voice coalition, we are asking the UK government to ensure that the Major Conditions Strategy is fully funded, resourced, and incorporates all the evidence previously provided in response to the original Cancer Plan.
And as the world’s largest brain tumour charity, we must see that any new strategy prioritises four key areas needed for there to be transformational changes in diagnosis, treatment, and care for brain tumour patients:
- Progress in Research
- Improvements in Early Diagnosis
- Better Access to Treatments
- Comprehensive Personalised Care
Act now to improve cancer care in England
We do not yet know how the government will consult the cancer sector and patients on this Major Conditions Strategy, but we will be participating however we can by reiterating some of the important messages from our 10-Year Cancer Plan submission. In the meantime, we’re working with the One Cancer Voice coalition to pile the pressure on government to ensure the new Major Conditions Strategy is as effective as it can be for those affected by cancer.
But we also need your help so that brain tumours do not fall behind the progress being made in other cancers. Sign the open petition to the Prime Minister to help ensure that this new strategy does not dilute the ambition needed to improve cancer care in England. By bringing our voices together we can fight for genuine improvements across all cancers.