Healthcare professionals and patients in a clinical setting

Anthony Nolan joins cancer charities in calls for improved statutory sick pay

April 22, 2024

New briefing lifts the lid on the financial difficulty working people face when their sick pay doesn’t pay the bills. 

Anthony Nolan is joining other cancer and health charities to tackle the UK’s currently inadequate ‘Statutory Sick Pay’ arrangement, as a new policy briefing sheds light on the severe impact thousands of people only eligible for SSP face if they are unlucky enough to fall ill.

The briefing estimates that of 127,000 people of working age diagnosed with cancer each year, 38,000 face a disastrous hit to their income, with the total number living with cancer who have been impacted estimated as at least 250,000 people. They are able to access just £116.75 a week statutory sick pay, or no sick pay at all if they work multiple jobs below the £130 a week earnings threshold. 

Henny Braund, CEO of Anthony Nolan said:

A stem cell transplant is an incredibly intensive cancer treatment that can leave patients very sick and vulnerable to infection for as long as a year. At Anthony Nolan we have heard of patients falling into debt and on the brink of homelessness. Some have even considered refusing a transplant because they are worried about the financial implications of recovery, despite the treatment being their only chance of a cure.

No one should have to worry about making ends meet after a cancer diagnosis, but the reality is patients and families are struggling to pay for food, heating and travel to hospital. The “safety net” of sick pay and other support is failing too many people and needs urgent reform.

The Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University calculated that the income loss for people taking time off for cancer treatment in SSP could rise to tens of thousands of pounds in the worst case scenario. 

This would put a financially comfortable couple on two median salaries into significant financial difficulty, far below the minimum income standard (MIS) needed for a decent quality of life. 

Take two minutes to support the campaign

The Safe Sick Pay campaign is encouraging people to write to their MPs.

Anyone interested in finding out how they could join like minded people interested in meeting their MP can sign up to enquire how to do so here: