Fleur Anderson MP meets with Minister to advocate for those living with illness during the cost of living crisis
Fleur Anderson MP for Putney, Roehampton, and Southfields this week met with Minister for Disabled People Tom Pursglove MP, with representatives from Young Carers Vs Cancer, Anthony Nolan, Action for M.E. and Team Margot.
The group told the Minister about the profound impact that the cost of living crisis is having on individuals and communities living with cancer, ME, and other health challenges.
Fleur Anderson and the charities highlighted crucial concerns and proposed actions to alleviate the financial burdens faced by people with long-term health conditions.
Fleur Anderson MP said:
“I asked for the Minister for a meeting when I spoke in a debate in Parliament and was pleased that he agreed to meet. During the debate, I had spoken about the financial impact of the cost of living crisis on those with long term health conditions such as ME, stem cell transplants and young people with cancer. These issues had all been raised with me by local people in Putney.
Meeting with the Minister was a significant step forwards in getting the Government to do far more for vulnerable groups, who are suffering at the sharpest end of the cost of living crisis.
We asked the Minister to change the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme and open it up to more people who need the support far more quickly. It is currently only open to people already receiving benefits, but many people suddenly lose their income when they have cancer or a stem cell transplant. We also asked for reform of the Personal Independence Plan assessments for people with ME or others with health conditions which are debilitating but fluctuate.
The purpose of our meeting was to ask the Government to listen to what day-to-day life is like for people living with serious illnesses such as cancer and ME, and to ask them to take tangible and meaningful steps to save them money and ease some of the stress in their lives.”
The charities at the meeting raised key areas of concern with the Minister.
Young Lives Vs Cancer brought attention to the immediate financial challenges faced by young people diagnosed with cancer. Action for ME explained the changes that are needed to PIP assessments so that people with ME receive the financial support they need.
Representatives from Anthony Nolan and Team Margot echoed concerns about escalating travel costs for people who have had stem cell transplants and have to have very frequent hospital visits but cannot travel on public transport and have to travel further to specialist hospitals. For example, everyone in the South of England, even as far as Cornwall, has to travel to London. On average, stem cell transplant patients live 32.4 miles away from their nearest transplant centre, resulting in estimated annual fuel costs exceeding £900.
Yaser Martini lives locally to Putney and founded Team Margot in memory of his two year old daughter Margot, who died of blood cancer. Her parents experienced how much harder it is to find a bone marrow donor for people with mixed heritage.
He spoke movingly in the meeting about the financial issues and stress faced by parents of children with cancer. He asked the Minister to also look at ways to increase ethnically diverse bone marrow and stem cell donation.
Fleur Anderson MP continued:
“I am pleased the Minister has agreed to take the steps we suggested, including reviewing the three-month waiting period for those cancer patients applying for welfare benefits, and those facing similar challenges applying for Universal Credit after the 5- week waiting period. I have written to the Minister and look forward to him progressing this issue over the coming months.”
Notes to editors: