What we’ve been doing for #RunningOnEmpty across the UK?

Our #RunningOnEmpty campaign got off to a flying start with our launch event in Westminster last month, but we’re also campaigning in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure we achieve change in every part of the UK.

Ben, Devolved Nations Policy and Public Affairs Officer

Meet Ben, our Devolved Nations Policy and Public Affairs Officer

Why are things different in different parts of the UK?

The UK Government and Westminster Parliament makes a lot of decisions in the UK that affect everyone, but some parts of the UK – like Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have their own elected parliaments and governments that make certain decisions instead of the UK Government. This is known as devolution, and you might hear Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland sometimes referred to as the UK’s ‘devolved nations’. 

Because of devolution, these parts of the UK can make decisions on things like health, education and transport, that are different to the decisions that the UK Government (whose decisions then only apply to England), or any other government makes.  

A great example of this is the Scottish Government decided to launch the Young Patients Family Fund in 2021 for inpatients under 18 years old, making Scotland the first (and currently only) UK nation to provide dedicated financial support for families travelling for a child or young person staying in hospital, including those with cancer. 

Because of devolution, asking the UK Government in Westminster to take action is only part of the picture when we try to bring about positive change. We also need to make sure that the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make decisions that recognise and support children and young people with cancer and their families. 

What are we doing in the ‘devolved nations’ for #RunningOnEmpty, and why? 

Whilst our #RunningOnEmpty campaign is asking Westminster for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund that supports all children and young people with cancer across the UK, we also need to adapt to the distinct situations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is partly because each has its own approach to offering support with travel costs, with different policies in each nation.  

Since Scotland already has a Young Patients Family Fund, instead of asking for a new fund to be set up, we’re instead asking the Scottish Government to expand their Fund to three groups who currently can’t access it – 18-25 year olds, people travelling for day visits to hospital, and people who have to travel out of Scotland for their treatment. This would mean that all children and young people in Scotland would be able to get support for their travel costs.  

We also need to make sure we recognise the different experiences of children and young people with cancer and their families in each nation. In Wales and Northern Ireland, it’s not unusual to travel elsewhere for treatment – like England or the Republic of Ireland – so it is important that any financial support for travel costs for children and young people in these places provides support for cross-border travel. 

What’ve we done so far?

Well, we’ve been doing a lot and there’s more to come! Here’s just some of things we’ve been doing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales…  

  • We’ve met with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health, Michael Matheson, to discuss our #RunningOnEmpty campaign directly with him, and are building support among members of the Scottish Parliament for expanding the Family Fund.
  • We are a member of the NI Children’s Health Coalition, and together we’re calling for a Travel Fund that supports children and young people and their families in Northern Ireland. We spoke at the launch event for this in Stormont in June.
  • We’ve been sharing the campaign with our partners on the Wales Cancer Alliance to build support in Wales, and we are briefing representatives in the Senedd, including writing to Plaid Cymru’s new leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

What’s next? 

As #RunningOnEmpty develops, we’ll continue to engage with the devolved governments and parliaments to make changes across the UK. We’ll be presenting our research to partners in each nation, and continuing to campaign for support for travel costs that meets the needs of children and young people with cancer and their families in every part of the UK. 

Sign our #RunningOnEmpty petition

Author: Alison

Posted on Friday 4 August 2023

in Your news

Related Blog Topics

Related Posts