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What the election result means for people affected by blood cancer

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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12 Dec 2019

Whether you’ve been following the election closely, or trying to ignore it, Governments and politicians have a huge role to play in improving the lives of people affected by blood cancer.

Now we know the result, which gives the Conservatives a sufficient majority to enact their manifesto. This is what we think politicians should do to help the blood cancer community.

Holding the new Government’s promises about the NHS to account

The Conservative party manifesto promised to ‘extend the successful Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) into an Innovative Medicines Fund’. The CDF – a way of enabling temporary access to new treatments on the NHS, has been extremely effective in helping people with blood cancer access drugs that don’t yet have evidence of their long-term effectiveness.  For example, the revolutionary CAR-T therapy is only available to treat children with acute leukaemia and adults with relapsed Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, the most common type of blood cancer, because it was placed into the CDF.

Although it’s positive that the Government is committing to keeping the CDF, it’s important its budget is big enough to enable future blood cancer treatments get approved and reach patients as quickly as possible. We’ll be watching this closely.

Recognising the emotional impact of a diagnosis

The Conservative manifesto also pledged to ‘treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health’. This could be an important step for people with blood cancer, as many of them struggle to get the mental health support they need, particularly those on ‘watch and wait’. We’ll be campaigning  to get ministers to address this.  

What else should be on the Government’s to-do list?

 In October we launched our End the Delays campaign to stop unnecessary delays to blood cancer diagnosis. We urgently need the new Government to do more to help GPs recognise potential blood cancer symptoms and find new ways to measure progress on reducing delays to diagnoses.

We’re really excited that people with blood cancer will be some of the first to benefit from the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service, which will introduce transformative whole genome sequencing as part of routine care. The technology will allow clinicians to understand more about their cancer than ever before. These insights could enable doctors to ensure people are on the most effective treatment, access to clinical trials and, in years to come, could lead to even better drugs and treatments.

How you can help

We are working with politicians from all parties to help improve the lives of people with blood cancer. You can help our work by adding your name to our End the Delays petition, if you haven’t already.

If you want to help our work by getting in touch with your MP, we can help you draft a letter and support you to meet them. Please email policy@bloodwise.org.uk.

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