Solving Kids’ Cancer UK’s response to government announcement of Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce
Today the Department of Health and Social Care has announced the launch of a Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce, to tackle issues specific to childhood cancer in areas including care, treatment and research.
Solving Kids’ Cancer UK welcomes this announcement – we are very encouraged to see that the UK government is finally taking action to bring change for children with cancer. We are particularly pleased to see a focus on research into better treatments for children’s cancers. In October 2023 we launched our first External Affairs strategy committed to accelerating clinical research for children’s cancers in the UK. At the core of this is the fact that there has been a lack of awareness and prioritisation of childhood cancer research amongst key decision-makers in the public sector. The launch of a Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce is therefore a welcome sign that progress is being made to give this important issue the attention it needs.
Whilst this announcement is a good first step, making impactful change for children with cancer will take a considerable amount of work and collaboration. It is also crucial that there is a focus on areas of extreme unmet need, including high-risk cancers like neuroblastoma, and that the patient community is closely involved throughout. We would like to recognise the continued efforts of our friends at Sophie’s Legacy with the help of Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, who have fought to keep this topic within the government’s consideration. Now we hope that the government will engage with the whole of the childhood cancer sector, and research sector more widely to bring about the real change that is needed to end the devastation caused by children’s cancers.
We will be making every effort to be involved in this national mission as it develops, particularly in relation to accelerating clinical research which will need a coordinated and collaborative approach from all stakeholders involved. We have recognised this already in our own external affairs work and are in the early stages of developing a national multi-stakeholder initiative to tackle the barriers and bottlenecks that are currently hindering progress. With a national Children and Young People Cancer Taskforce now on the government’s agenda, we will be looking to engage them in this initiative at the earliest possible stage to ensure that it can bring positive impact for children and families at the level and urgency that is needed.
We look forward to hearing the government’s next steps to drive this work forward and will continue to update our networks on how we’re getting involved.