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Pancreatic Cancer UK sets out manifesto to improve patient care and outcomes in Scotland

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 16 February 2015

Launch of new “Diagnosis Manifesto” helps to set the agenda for change in Scotland

Pancreatic Cancer UK has today unveiled a manifesto outlining areas for immediate improvement and the need for change in the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in Scotland.

The ten point plan calls for, among other things, greater research funding to enable earlier diagnosis of the disease, an awareness raising campaign, better training and support for GPs and faster referral pathways. Importantly, the manifesto also highlights the need for improvements to the patient experience, especially around the way the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is communicated to patients and their families, and the information and support they are offered from point of diagnosis onwards.

The campaigning team from the charity will follow up on the launch by spending two days (Tuesday 17 & Wednesday 18 February) in the Scottish Parliament, with a view to meeting MSPs and talking to them in more detail about the key issues in the fight against pancreatic cancer - which has the lowest survival rate of all of the 21 most common cancers in the UK. In Scotland, the one and five-year survival rates are just 15.7% and 3.2% respectively, lower than the UK average (of 18.1 and 4.2%), figures which have remained virtually unchanged over the past 40 years.

David Park, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Pancreatic Cancer UK said: Our new manifesto highlights the very poor pancreatic cancer survival rates in Scotland and sets out positive steps and solutions to bring about the radical change in outcomes that are desperately needed. From more research to better training and support for GPs, and from faster referral pathways to more consideration of the patient and their feelings through the whole diagnostic pathway, there is much that must be changed.

“However, we should also look to the positives: Scotland is a world leader in terms of pancreatic cancer research, with top facilities and researchers across the country. Indeed, in December last year, we were delighted to announce the Scottish Government will offer joint funding with Pancreatic Cancer UK to fund two Scottish projects of up to £75,000 each through our Research Innovation Fund (RIF).

“New cancer referral guidelines were introduced in Scotland last year. And, we were extremely encouraged by the very recent news that the life-extending drug, Abraxane, has been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium and that eligible patients in Scotland will be able to access this treatment for free on the NHS, alongside patients in England and Wales. This really demonstrates a commitment to improving the current situation and by working together and tackling the barriers we currently face, I believe we can start moving things forward and seeing much improved outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients in Scotland.”

Working alongside a growing group of people who have been affected by pancreatic cancer (both patients and their families), the charity has a strong presence in Scotland, with a collective mission to raise awareness of the disease and the importance of early diagnosis.