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2007 National Disabled Members' Conference
5 July 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference welcomes the great advances in cancer research. This has meant the availability of new drugs and treatment therapies, for some of the most common cancers affecting patients in the United Kingdom, resulting in many more people surviving, living and working with cancer.

Cancer has a very strong impact on women. For example the vast majority of breast cancer patients are women and cervical and ovarian cancer are women specific.

All new treatments come with an expensive price tag, and not all are recognised for use by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Many of those that have been licenced are not always found to be affordable by Primary Care Trusts, meaning that many patients are being refused some of these new treatments. This has resulted in a post code lottery for cancer patients in many parts of the United Kingdom.

People with Cancer have to put their lives on hold; they cannot give notice of sick leave or any assurances on when or if they will be returning to work. Future financial planning also becomes difficult. Conference recognises the research from Breast Cancer Care on the shockingly high number of breast cancer patients who lose their jobs following cancer treatment due to lack of support from employers rather than for health reasons.

Recent research has also shown that cancer patients are losing their homes because of a loss of income, whilst being treated for the disease. Many are losing their jobs are having to take extended sick leave on half pay or no pay.

Cancer patients are re-mortgaging their homes or taking out big loans to pay for living costs, or associated treatment costs like travel and for carers during treatment.

Many cancer patients are even paying out for the new treatments not funded by the National Health Service (NHS).

This cannot be acceptable in an NHS where treatment is supposed to be free to all at the point of delivery and discrimination of disabled people in work a thing of the past.

Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee (NDMC) to

encourage regional disabled members groups to work with Regional Health Service Groups and the National Committtee to work with the National Executive Council and Labour Link and other self organised group committees including the National LGBT Committee to do the following:

1)To liaise with the appropriate professionals and campaign organisations to determine what cancer treatment is being funded by the NHS and in which areas.

2)To raise awareness, publicise and campaign about post code lottery treatment for cancer sufferers through the work of CancerBACUP recognising that there are cancers that predominantly affect women.

3) Publicise and encourage the importance of taking up regular screening for cancers eg cervical screening

4)To make representations to the Minster for Health to eliminate the post code lottery in cancer care treatment.

5)To lobby NHS Trusts providing cancer treatment to do impact assessments for their patients and to develop an action plan to improve care for cancer patients

6)To lobby employers to do impact assessments for their employees who have cancer.

7)To work across the union in negotiating better rights, policies and flexible disability sick leave arrangements for workers who have cancer and are receiving treatment.