What a week! In a break from the norm I headed to London to fulfil my role Cancer Research Campaigns Ambassador. Over 80 fellow ambassadors plus CRUK staff and volunteers headed to Parliament for the Launch of the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign.
With a growing and ageing population, demand for cancer tests is going to increase and services are already struggling. More than 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are already unfilled and thousands more NHS staff will be needed in the future.
With 1 in 2 people in our lifetime expected to be diagnosed with cancer we are calling on government to ensure that our NHS is sufficiently resourced to meet this demand.
Research has shown that diagnosis made in the early stages of cancer can dramatically improve patient outcomes.
In order to help achieve this we need to train and recruit key medical staff. The pipeline for training new Doctors, Radiologists, Pathologists Medical Oncologists to consultancy level can be quite long averaging between 8 and 12 years depending on the role so we need to act now. With talks of NHS Plan to be released soon we are asking MP’s to sign a joint multi-party letter to Theresa May to ensure that Cancer is given the priority need to ensure that more people are surviving the disease.
In a informative, emotional and inspirational day I got to hear from the Amazing CRUK Head office team, CEO Sir Harpal Kumar and Shadow Public Health Minister Sharon Hodgson as well as my fellow ambassador stories.
A question asked a lot during my visit is why did you become an ambassador?
Well it’s a voluntary role and I was looking for something that would enable me to make a difference away from normal work / business within health and social care (a great area interest after completing my foundation degree in 2015). Cancer research is a cause I feel strongly about and have fundraised for them for many years now in different running events.
1 in 2 of us will get a cancer diagnosis which means it is a cause that will affect all of us directly or indirectly. The key to better outcomes is continuing the vital research. That research can only make the difference if acted upon. Ambassadors work with their MPs and representative to gain support and awareness for the charity’s main campaigns. The people in power are there to make our voices heard and are the ones that can ultimately push for change.
After the campaign briefing and networking sessions we headed to Portcullis House to meet our MPs and representatives the feedback so far seems positive with a high number of MPs backing the campaign. Fingers crossed this is reflected in the new NHS Plan when it is released.
Well done to all my fellow ambassadors I throughly enjoyed meeting you all and hearing your different stories.