This is in response to CLIC Sargent’s campaign for a UK-wide Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund, which was launched at the start of September, Mr Ashworth said that Labour would introduce a fund to help with travel costs for young cancer patients in England.
CLIC Sargent was approached by Mr Ashworth’s team after hearing about the charity’s petition calling on the Government to introduce the fund. Almost 30,000 people have signed CLIC Sargent’s petition since it launched in early September. Labour’s announcement comes on the day that children, parents and CLIC Sargent staff are handing in their petition to the Department of Health.
During September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, CLIC Sargent has been campaigning to highlight the costs families are facing when getting their child to hospital, after research found:
- Children and young people with cancer face journeys twice as long, costing twice as much as adults with the same disease to get to specialist treatment in the UK
- Young cancer patients and families face average travel costs of £180 a month on their ‘cancer commute’ getting to hospital for life saving treatment which can last over three years.
- The average journey families face is a 60-mile trip to hospital and back – the longest distance travelled by families is over 800 miles
- Treatment for childhood cancer can last anything from months to over three years, meaning families face making the journey countless times.
Kate Lee, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, said:
“It is fantastic news that the Shadow Health Secretary has recognised the desperate need for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund for England.
"We know how much cancer costs, and families constantly tell us of the debt and financial problems they face simply because of the countless trips to hospital and back for their child’s vital treatment.
“We have been talking to all political parties about this issue and what we need now is for the Government to take action, and we need to see this fund implemented across the whole of the UK. The NHS is free at the point of entry, yet families are footing the bill, with some parents sleeping in cars, learning to give treatment at home – all because of the cost of getting to hospital. It is not right and this responsibility should not lie with families.”