Mark Hunter MP calls for increased support of cancer carers

November 13, 2013 2:25 PM

Cheadle constituency MP, Mark Hunter, is calling for the Care Bill legislation to be improved to ensure the NHS in England identifies and signposts cancer carers to support.

In an event in Parliament, Macmillan Cancer Support briefed MPs on the urgent need to improve the lives of people selflessly providing unpaid care to loved ones with cancer, as well as Macmillan's work to ensure that no one faces cancer alone.

In his meeting with Macmillan, Mark Hunter discussed the needs of the 905,000 people providing unpaid support for loved ones with cancer in England. Half of these cancer carers are not receiving any help despite it having a substantial impact on their lives. Cancer carers come into contact with health professionals far more often than they do with their local authority. However, the NHS is not identifying and signposting enough of them to support. This means that as few as 5% receive a carers assessment. The Care Bill places a welcome duty on local authorities to identify carers. However this duty does not cover health bodies meaning cancer carers will continue to slip through the net. This is why Mark Hunter is joining Macmillan in calling for the Care Bill to place a shared responsibility on both the NHS and councils to identify carers. Macmillan Cancer

Mark Hunter can be seen here with a piece of a jigsaw puzzle representing the integral part carers play in the care of cancer patients. Similarly, the responsibility for the NHS to identify carers is a vital piece missing from the Care Bill. By supporting the campaign, Mark is helping to put cancer carers back in the picture.

Speaking after the event, Mark said:

"The Care Bill represents a good opportunity to improve the provision of support for cancer carers; by identifying them and letting them know what information and support is available health care professionals can have a positive effect on carers' quality of life and improve their ability to carry on caring for their loved one.

"The Care Bill legislation must ensure that the NHS in England has a responsibility to work with local authorities to identify and signpost cancer carers to appropriate services. The number of people diagnosed with cancer is set to double in the next twenty years and so there will likely also be a surge in the number of people caring for them. Macmillan's campaign aims to drive improvements of care and I am very proud to support it."

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