You may have seen on Twitter and Facebook that we have spent the past two days (17/18 February) operating a pancreatic cancer awareness exhibition stand in the Scottish Parliament, speaking to Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The stand was kindly sponsored by Dennis Robertson MSP and was a joint event, as we shared the display space with Pancreatic Cancer Scotland.
In addition to our Head of Campaigns, David, the stand was manned for the full two days by our amazing supporter, and Pancreatic Cancer UK Voice, Kim Rowan. A big thanks to Kim for giving us so much of her time and for making the event such a success.
And it was a success: over the two days we spoke to 37 MSPs (out of a total of 129), including the Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Cancer, Malcolm Chisholm, Convenor of the Parliament’s Health Committee, Duncan McNeil, Environment Minister, Aileen McLeod, and former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond. A full list of MSPs is listed at the end of this blog post.
We were able to explain to the MSPs more about pancreatic cancer, its shockingly low survival rates, the need for more research, early diagnosis, better treatments and care. In addition, we made sure each MSP was given details of our Support Line, in case they met constituents who needed advice and support in future. We hope the Members we spoke to will also be able to help us raise awareness of the disease via their websites, social media presence and through their local media. Some of whom have already started doing so, such as
Diagnosis Manifesto for Scotland:
To press home the need for earlier diagnosis, and a better patient experience, we handed out a new booklet designed specifically for the exhibition – our ‘Diagnosis Manifesto for 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 Manifesto drew on a number of sources, including an online ‘symptoms and diagnosis survey’ we carried out just before Christmas, to present Scottish specific statistics and, importantly, quotes from patients and family members about their own experiences of diagnosis. It is these personal testimonies that will help make policy makers better understand why change is needed.
Supporter Kim Rowan with Malcolm Chisholm MSP
Future regional work:
We designed the Manifesto to coincide with the Scottish Parliament exhibition. However, we will be producing more regional documents over the coming months to help us better campaign for change in Wales, Northern Ireland and different parts of England. To help us do this, we will still be drawing on responses to our online survey and so, if you haven’t replied to the survey as yet, please do so by following this link here. And please do share with others who might also want to share their experiences.
Clare Adamson; Christian Allard; Richard Baker; Chic Brodie; Cameron Buchanan; Margaret Burgess; Jackson Carlaw; Malcolm Chisholm; Willie Coffey; Ruth Davidson; Nigel Don; Mary Fee; Patricia Ferguson; Neil Findlay; Murdo Fraser; Hugh Henry; Adam Ingram; Alison Johnstone; Bill Kidd; Richard Lyle; Kenny MacAskill; Lewis Macdonald; Ken Macintosh; Hanzala Malik; John Mason; Margaret McCulloch; Jamie McGrigor; Aileen McLeod; Duncan McNeil; Nanette Milne; Margaret Mitchell; Elaine Murray; Dennis Robertson; Alex Salmond; Stewart Stevenson; Dave Thompson; Jean Urqhart.