The event, which was hosted by CLIC Sargent and Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, saw MPs hear from family members and young people talking about the financial impact of cancer, and the struggles they faced in affording to get to hospital and back for treatment. MPs also found out more about the distances and costs families in their constituencies currently face if their child is diagnosed with cancer.
Currently, children and young people with cancer have to travel twice as far and spend twice as much as adults to get to hospital for cancer treatment (1). Research from CLIC Sargent found that thousands of families of children and young people with cancer across the UK are currently facing an average 60-mile round trip to get their child to life-saving treatment, with costs mounting up to £180 a month when treatment is at its most intense (2).
For many families, the cost and distances are even higher, with many having to find thousands of pounds simply to pay to get their child to hospital.
Kate Lee, Chief Executive at CLIC Sargent, said:
“We urgently need the Government to take action so that families no longer have to face the threat of debt simply because their child needs to get to hospital for vital cancer treatment.
“The families we work with constantly tell us of the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis, with travel costs being one of the biggest expenses. Often, families do not have the choice to go to their nearest hospital because childhood cancer requires specialist treatment meaning families often travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of pounds. This leaves many relying on charity grants, borrowing money from family and friends, wiping out savings or being plunged into debt.
“This is not good enough and the government needs to set up a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund so that families can focus on their child, rather than worrying about mounting bills.”
The event was held ahead of Monday’s Budget, where CLIC Sargent is calling on the Chancellor to announce plans for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund in his announcement.