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2008 – Our political achievements

by Jon Spiers | Analysis

30 January 2009

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As well as research, we lobby for better services and treatment for people with cancer

As well as research, we push for better services and treatment for people with cancer

Cancer Research UK campaigns tirelessly to keep cancer high on the political agenda.

We’ve already shared some of our successes in cancer biology, cancer prevention and clinical research from 2008, but we’ve also had some fantastic achievements in our campaigning work too.

Screening Matters – Improving cancer screening programmes in the UK

ACTION: Over 10,000 of our supporters wrote to your MP or MSP asking about cancer screening services in their area. 16 specially trained CancerCampaigns Ambassadors met their MP to discuss the importance of cancer screening.

RESULT: We analysed the huge amount of information gathered for us and created a set of unique reports, making recommendations on how to improve screening locally. We are now using them to influence local services across the Uk.

Cancer 2020 – Getting politicians across the UK to plan now for the future of cancer

ACTION: Working alongside the Welsh Cancer Alliance, 30 CancerCampaigns Ambassadors from across Wales met their Assembly Members to push for a Welsh cancer plan. We have also advised on the English, Scottish and Northern Irish cancer strategies.

RESULT:  The Welsh Assembly Government recently announced a new Strategic Framework for the future of cancer treatment and services. We are now working to ensure that the Framework contains everything a cancer plan should.

Gift Aid – Tackling the effect of income tax changes on Cancer Research UK’s revenue

ACTION: As part of a campaign across the charity sector, staff and scientists at Cancer Research UK contacted their MP about how changes to income tax would drastically reduce the money available to us to beat cancer.

RESULT: The Government announced a transitional relief package over the next three years, saving Cancer Research UK £3 million a year.

NICE and cancer drugs – Improving the system for approving cancer drugs on the NHS

ACTION: We asked for your views on a preliminary decision by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) not to recommend four new kidney cancer drugs for the NHS. We shared your opinions with NICE along with a report on how we think the system for approving drugs could be adjusted to make sure effective drugs, especially for rarer cancers, are made available on the NHS.

RESULT: The Government announced measures to improve access to cancer drugs including increasing the amount they are willing to spend on drugs for rarer cancers and for patients at the end of their lives. NICE are reconsidering the recommendations on the kidney cancer drugs and will meet in 2009 to discuss this.

Out of Sight and Out of Mind – Protecting children from tobacco marketing

ACTION: Over 10,000 of our supporters responded to the Department of Health’s consultation on tobacco control.  Over 50,000 signed our petition that was handed in to the Minister for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo MP, in November. The campaign calls for tobacco to be removed from view in shops and to prohibit tobacco vending machines, a major source of underage sales.

RESULT: The Government have announced new legislation on tobacco that includes removing tobacco displays but doesn’t go far enough on vending machines. We’ll be campaigning further on this in 2009!

Thank you to everyone who supported our campaigning work in 2008 – we simply couldn’t have done it without you!

Jon Spiers, Cancer Research UK CancerCampaigns Manager