Posted on Tuesday 6 February 2024

in News

The Department of Health and Social Care announces new Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce

Today (Tuesday 6 February 2024), the Department of Health and Social Care has announced national charities, clinicians, patient groups and UK government will come together to form a new Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce. To mark today’s announcement, Helen Gravestock, Young Lives vs Cancer’s Director of Policy, Communications and Voice, will join Andrew Stephenson MP, Minister for Health and Secondary Care, visiting Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

The Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce is a positive and important step in recognising the unique needs of children and young people (0-25) with cancer, and their families, and creates a dedicated space focused on improving their experiences and outcomes.

The establishment of the taskforce comes after almost two years of campaigning by Young Lives vs Cancer and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), who together have been calling on UK government to implement a dedicated Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan and have met regularly with the Department of Health and Social Care to discuss the improvements young cancer patients need. 

It’s welcomed that the taskforce will bring stakeholders together in collaboration to harness the breadth of expertise across the sector. Charities, like Young Lives vs Cancer who support children, young people and families across the whole UK, will be crucial in ensuring the taskforce hears and delivers on what young cancer patients and families continually say needs to change.

Young Lives vs Cancer hears directly on the frontline from young people and families about their experiences, and has a wealth of research, evidence and insight developed with children, young people and families at its core, and looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Health and Social Care on this important initiative.

As well as improvements in treatment and research, the taskforce will also aim to improve care and reduce the long-term impacts of cancer. The taskforce is a vital step towards all children and young people with cancer having the care and support they need for the wide-ranging impacts of cancer, from diagnosis, through treatment and after treatment has ended.

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Chief Executive at Young Lives vs Cancer, says:   “It’s a positive step that children and young people with cancer’s unique needs are getting the focus they deserve with the setup of a dedicated Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce.   

“Alongside their health, cancer can completely disrupt a young person’s life both during and beyond treatment, from education, to mental health and finances. It’s reassuring that as well as improving treatment and research, the Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce aims to transform care and reduce the long-term impacts of cancer. It’s crucial all children and young people (0-25) get the care and support they need to face all the challenges cancer brings.  

“Young Lives vs Cancer is dedicated to amplifying the experiences of those we support. By coming together in collaboration through the Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce, we hope charities, clinicians and government will drive the changes children and young people with cancer need to improve their experiences and outcomes, and work towards a long-term national strategy for young cancer patients.”

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