Posted on Monday 14 August 2023
Our response to the government’s interim report on its Major Conditions Strategy in England
Today (Monday 14 August) the UK Government published its interim report on the Major Conditions Strategy, which sets out the framework the strategy is set to follow to address the health challenges and needs of patients living with six health conditions, including cancer. It is expected to be inclusive of all patients across their life course, and will be applicable in England only.
In response to the publication of the report, Helen Gravestock, Director of Policy, Influencing and Voice at Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “Any national strategy to improve outcomes and experiences for children and young people with cancer must fully consider their unique needs and the challenges they face, and incorporate steps to address them. In turn, the strategy needs to be ambitious, long-term, fully-funded and grounded in evidence from the cancer community and patients’ own experiences.
We welcome the acknowledgement within the report that children and young people have specific needs, preferences and challenges. We’re pleased the report references the particular challenges faced by young cancer patients at diagnosis, and commits to exploring how these can be addressed, alongside commitments to appropriate support from the cancer workforce, addressing health inequalities, and embedding mental health support across other health pathways.
However, we strongly feel the branding of cancer in children and young people as “rare” is misleading and unhelpful, in particular when developing strategies and plans for all patients and across multiple conditions. The strong focus on prevention and traditional screening approaches in particular risks the Strategy not fully addressing the needs of children and young people, whose cancer type is often one that can’t be prevented or detected through these adult-focused methods.
Together with CCLG, Young Lives vs Cancer have developed a Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan that would address the specific needs of children and young people with cancer. We hope that the Government does not ignore the voices of children and young people with cancer, and takes action to ensure the areas within our Plan are addressed.”
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Young Lives vs Cancer sees Autumn Statement as a missed opportunity to provide better financial support to children and young people with cancer and their families