Grahame Morris MP speaks on brain tumour care in Westminster Hall debate
Posted on 26th March 2014 by PB Consulting in Lobbying
Brain Tumour Research would like to thank Grahame Morris MP for being the only MP to raise the issue of brain tumour patients in the Cancer Treatment and Prevention debate in Westminster Hall on the 11th of March.
Mr Morris, a long-time supporter of better treatment and research funding for brain tumours, spoke passionately about the work at the University College London Hospital Neurology and Neurosurgery department. The focus of his speech was on the decision to take Gamma Knife treatment away from the hospital and how this decision had made a “mockery” of the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, with its brief to ensure patient choice in the NHS. The decision was taken by NHS England to stop treatment with Gamma Knife technology at the centre, meaning that rather than being treated at a world class institution by experienced staff, patients were forced to choose a new centre where they would start the treatment process from the beginning.
Brain tumour patients have a worse experience within the NHS than any other cancer and the debacle of UCL demonstrates this perfectly. There are too few centres in the country that can provide state of the art treatment for brain tumours and indeed there is reason to believe that this number may soon drop by three quarters. The Daily Mail, amongst others, has reported that 18 of the 25 centres that currently provide targeted radiotherapy treatment for brain tumours are to be closed in a needs assessment review. At a time when research into brain tumours is less than 1% of the national spend, meaning less new treatments and clinical trials, the Government and the NHS are planning to limit the number of centres brain tumour patients can receive the only treatment that can cure them.
Jane Ellison MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, was present at the debate and has agreed to respond in more detail to Mr Morris’ statement. Brain Tumour Research would urge the Minister to support the goals stated in our epetition:
• Prioritise deaths under 75 in the government’s cancer funding
• Devote a consistent or growing absolute figure to brain cancer research
• Introduce a national register of site-specific cancer research to track all research grants and research work, ensuring transparency of funding arrangements
• Consider the question of curing brain tumours in terms of research spend necessary for other cancers: around £30-£35 million per annum over a ten year time-frame