Government fails to address cost of travel for young cancer patients in Budget announcement - CLIC Sargent response

Young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent has expressed its disappointment that the voices of over 30,000 people calling for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund have been completely ignored in today’s Budget. 

Government fails to address cost of travel for young cancer patients in Budget announcement - CLIC Sargent response

In September, over 30,000 people signed the charity’s petition calling for a UK-wide Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund to be set up. In response to this, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary announced their plans to establish a fund for families travelling to and from hospital for cancer treatment. 

Thousands of families of children with cancer are currently spending hundreds, if not thousands, on getting their child to and from hospital for vital cancer treatment, with little financial support from the Government. CLIC Sargent’s 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.

Clare Laxton, Associate Director of Policy and Influencing at CLIC Sargent, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the Government has ignored the voices of over 30,000 people who supported the call for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund to be established. This means young cancer patients and their families will continue to face having to find hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds simply because their child needs life-saving cancer treatment.

“We welcome the investment in mental health services announced today. But if the Government is serious about ending austerity, we urge them to include a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund in its NHS Long Term plan. 

“We need to see Government take action to help families who are dealing with the devastating financial impact of their child’s cancer diagnosis. It cannot continue to simply look the other way while families are plunged into debt and forced to rely on credit cards, family and friends and charity grants, to make the journey to hospital and back.” 

Spokespeople, case studies and images are available on request. For more information, please contact Kat Evans on 020 8752 2902 or email katherine.evans@clicsargent.org.uk. For out of hours enquiries, call 0844 848 1189.  

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent

When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors

Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.   

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