On 8 September, North Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald was one of over 200 Members of Parliament who came together to support Macmillan Cancer Support’s latest campaign. The charity used its well-loved World’s Biggest Coffee Morning reception in Parliament to launch a new report “Cancer Nursing on the line”.
The report calls for a Cancer Nurse Fund to invest in training the next generation of cancer nurses, whose numbers need to double by 2030 to ensure that people living with cancer get the support they need.
At the event Sir Oliver spoke with Macmillan professionals and heard about the concerns of people living with cancer. It is clear that specialist cancer nurses do an invaluable job in supporting people through their illness: from diagnosis, to treatment, and beyond. But Macmillan’s report highlights that the cancer nurse crisis has now left more than half a million people with cancer in the UK (21%; 630,000) with a lack of support. This can have serious implications, with almost half of all people (44%) who were diagnosed with cancer in the last two years, and lacked support, experiencing at least one potentially serious medical implication as a result, such as ending up in A&E, not knowing if they were talking their medication correctly or what side effects to look out for.
As the NHS recovers from the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, we must build back stronger and better. A shortage of over 3,000 nurses in England is impacting how the NHS can care for cancer patients in North Herts and indeed, across our nations. We must grow and back our specialist cancer nurse workforce in order to be set up for the future.
Commenting, Sir Oliver said: ‘The Macmillan event on 8 September allowed me to show support and solidarity with the specialist cancer nurses who do so much to help the growing population of those living with cancer, which is set to rise to 4 million by 2030. North Herts residents deserve to get the very best out of cancer services, should they ever need them. By continuing to work with Macmillan Cancer Support on the crucial issues they champion, I will help ensure that local people get the support they deserve through their illness’.