Chair of the APPG questions Chancellor over support for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
In November 2020, Mark Tami MP submitted a question to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, asking about financial support for clinically extremely vulnerable people including stem cell transplant patients.
This is because many patients who could not work from home in the November COVID-19 lockdown in England have been advised not to go to work by their doctor, leaving them in insecure circumstances.
The response we received cited the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which could both be claimed through the November 2020 lockdown. It highlights that those who receive a notification that they need to shield will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer, and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, subject to the wider eligibility criteria. Some patients may also be able to claim Universal Credit, though this is dependant on their personal circumstances.
APPG members support Communities vs Blood Cancer
In September 2020, Anthony Nolan’s annual Communities vs Blood Cancer Campaign went virtual, with politicians up and down the country taking to social media to spread the word about stem cell transplantation. The Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign aims to raise awareness of Anthony Nolan and its work amongst elected officials in both Westminster and Holyrood, asking MPs and MSPs to promote the stem cell register and highlight areas of need.
The APPG members supported the digital ‘day of action’ by tweeting infographics and posting engaging videos on their social media platforms.
Inclusion of stem cell donation in new health education guidelines
Plans set out in March 2019 by the former Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP confirmed that, from September 2020, all secondary school pupils across England have the opportunity to learn about stem cell donation. This means young people will be equipped with the facts to make an informed decision about joining the stem cell donor register once they reach the age of 16.
The APPG on Stem Cell Transplantation supported our recommendations and response to the consultation, including the signing of letters and organisation of meetings with ministers.
NHS England announces funding for second stem cell transplants
On Friday 24 February 2017, NHS England announced that it would fund second donor stem cell transplants for patients who relapse a year or more after their first donor transplant. This follows a campaign, supported by the APPG on Stem Cell Transplantation, to overturn a decision taken by NHS England the previous year that second transplants were unaffordable. The policy will ensure that any patient who relapses one year or more after their first donor transplant will be able to access the treatment they need.
On 24 January 2017, then co-chairs Mark Tami MP and David Burrowes MP joined other MPs in the House of Commons to debate the need for access to second stem cell transplants. Four weeks later, NHS England made the announcement that this treatment would now be funded, along with two other treatments that were not prioritised for funding in 2016.
The decision means that up to 20 patients a year can now access the treatment, providing them with the hope of a cure.