The pandemic, staff shortages and underfunding have pushed our NHS to breaking point

Our No Time to Wait campaign demands that Governments across the UK act now to deliver better and faster care to save lives and improve outcomes for people affected by pancreatic cancer this winter.

Following decades of inaction on pancreatic cancer, we took our campaign directly to politicians in our first major UK parliamentary events for several years.

An amazing 130 Members of Parliament (MPs), Peers and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) joined us out our events. This is all thanks to over a thousand of you – our brilliant supporters – who invited your parliamentary representatives to come along and listen to our concerns about the pancreatic cancer crisis.

A buzzing afternoon in Westminster

On Wednesday 16th November, we were joined in the Palace of Westminster by people affected by pancreatic cancer from across the UK. Together, we met over 100 MPs and Peers and urged them to put pressure on Government to take immediate action to prioritise pancreatic cancer in the long overdue 10-year Cancer plan.

The flow of politicians joining us was non-stop, and the room was buzzing with conversation. It was great to hear that so many agreed to stand up and support our cause regardless of what political party they were from.

Over 20 of our fantastic supporters spoke to politicans about their experiences, including Claire, who joined us from Derry, Northern Ireland. Claire had surgery to remove a tumour the size of a mango from her pancreas – and is pictured here meeting Virginia Crosbie MP.

Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK - Claire and Virginia
Claire and Virginia

Several influential MPs dropped by to show their support including Helen Whatley, the new Cancer Minister. Steve Brine MP, the new Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee also joined us, and chatted to his constituent Richard Murphy, who lost his wife to pancreatic cancer a year ago.

Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK - Steve Brine MP with Lynne Walker, Richard Murply and Anna Jewell PCUK
Pictured Left to Right: Lynne Walker (Chair of our Trustees, Pancreatic Cancer UK, who is living beyond pancreatic cancer), Richard Murphy, Steve Brine, Anna Jewell, Pancreatic Cancer UK

Shadow Health Minister Feryal Clark MP and Jim Shannon MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Pancreatic Cancer, also made speeches during the afternoon, urging the Government to act by publishing its cancer plan.

Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK - Jim Shannon MP
Jim Shannon giving his address

And we’ve not stopped there in Westminster…

This month we’ve also had a debate in the Commons – focussed on Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month – which saw 9 different MPs from across parties speak about the pancreatic cancer emergency call for change. The cancer minister, Helen Whatley, spoke on behalf of the Government in the debate, and also agreed to meet with Pancreatic Cancer UK. We had a successful meeting on the 22nd November where the minister agreed to support our work to improve the treatment pathway for pancreatic cancer patients.

We also saw an action-packed afternoon in the House of Lords on the 21st November, where Lord Black asked a verbal question of the Government about what action they’re taking on pancreatic cancer – and 8 other Peers asked follow-up questions in what turned out to be a bit of a grilling for the Government! As part of this, Lord Markham – who is responsible for the Government’s health policy in the House of Lords – agreed to meet with us and other supportive Peers, to discuss our No Time to Wait campaign further.

Taking our campaign to Scotland

The day after our Westminster event, we headed off to the Scottish Parliament where we were again joined by our fantastic volunteers. 33 MSPs came along to talk to us – over a quarter of the Scottish Parliament!

All MSPs agreed to take action to support our No Time to Wait campaign as well as promote our support services to help their constituents affected by pancreatic cancer.

We were delighted that Humza Yousaf, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, found time in his busy schedule to show his support, alongside the Minister with responsibility for cancer, Maree Todd.

Our volunteer Katie Hendry, who lost her grandma to pancreatic cancer, spoke to Humza Yousaf about her experience.

Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK Humza Yousaf with our volunteer Katie Hendry
Humza and Katie

This event was well timed to build support among MSPs ahead of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month Members’ debate in Scottish Parliament which took place on Tuesday 29 November. 9 MSPs spoke during the lively and emotional hour-long debate: raising awareness of symptoms, calling for patients to receive better support and information, and demanding action to speed up diagnosis and treatment for people with pancreatic cancer. One of those who spoke was the Cancer Minister, Maree Todd MSP, who said that pancreatic cancer and the other survivable cancers would be a key part of the upcoming 10 Year Cancer Strategy for Scotland which is due for publication next year – a huge win!

Raising our voices in UK parliament - Pancreatic cancer UK engaging with MPs Tweet

Thank you to our supporters

Our events really wouldn’t have had the same impact without your support.

An incredible 90% of all politicians who came along were invited by our supporters – although the events have now passed, you can still ask your MP or MSP to stand with us.

At both events we displayed hundreds of personal stories about pancreatic cancer that our supporters shared with us earlier this autumn. Thank you so much if you shared yours. Politicians found these really impactful, and many took copies of the stories on display away with them.

Thanks again to our incredible supporters and volunteers for making these events a success. Together, we’ve sent a clear message to parliaments across the UK that people with pancreatic cancer cannot – and will not – wait any longer for actions.