East Dunbartonshire MP Amy Callaghan secured a meeting with Health Ministers from across the UK to discuss the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on young patients with cancer which took place on Wednesday June 30.
For many young people with cancer one of the most challenging things about their treatment throughout the pandemic has been being unable to have a parent, partner, or friend with them the during their time in hospital.
In her role as Chair of the APPG on Children, Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer, Amy has spent time hearing from young people about their experiences while receiving cancer treatment alone during the pandemic. Sharing these experiences with Ministers from all four UK nations was vital to ensure best practice is consistent across the UK and that cancer treatment and support isn’t a postcode lottery.
In a recent Teenage Cancer Trust survey, 60% of young people across the UK reported they had spent time in hospital or attended appointments alone because of changes in hospital visiting and appointment guidance during the pandemic to help control infection rates.
In February this year, Young Lives vs Cancer and Teenage Cancer Trust launched the #Hand2Hold campaign to raise awareness of this issue, calling on governments to allow young people in hospital with cancer to have a hand to hold where safe and possible to do so.
Although some hospitals were already permitting this, it was not the case for many young patients and Amy is committed to addressing this inconsistency.
Commenting, Amy Callaghan MP said,
“This meeting has provided a vital opportunity to ensure best practice is not only discussed and shared but implemented across the UK in relation to supporting young cancer patients with their appointments. This has been particularly crucial during the pandemic but is something we should continue as best practice going forward.
"Our APPG has heard from 16-25-year olds who have learned the news about their diagnosis, with no one there to support them. During treatment, young patients are often in hospital for days or weeks at a time and during the pandemic this has been without any support from loved ones."