Raising the profile of pancreatic cancer in Parliament to support improved patient experiences and survival rates.
Pancreatic Cancer UK is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer in all fronts by providing support and information for patients, carers and families, investing in research and campaigning for improvements right across the board from earlier diagnosis through to increased UK investment and research. In 2011 the charity published Study for Survival, the first ever comprehensive assessment of pancreatic cancer care in the UK. Following the launch of the Study for Survival the charity launched its flagship campaign, the Campaign for Hope, with the ambitious aims of doubling five-year pancreatic cancer survival rates within the next five years and changing the NHS experience of pancreatic cancer patients from one of the worst to one of the best.
The Whitehouse Consultancy was initially appointed to engage political stakeholders prior to the launch of the Campaign for Hope in the House of Lords and to plan and run the launch event.
Whitehouse’s initial task was to quickly build up the profile of pancreatic cancer within Parliament. We provided all parliamentarians with a copy of the Study for Survival report and encouraged MPs and peers to sign up to the campaign ahead of its initial launch. Building on the very positive response we received, we were quickly able to work with parliamentarians to secure a large amount of activity which made policy makers sit up and take notice – securing a meeting with the responsible minister.
Following a very well attended launch event, Pancreatic Cancer UK took the decision to continue its political engagement. Following a request from MPs to set up an All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, Whitehouse supported Pancreatic Cancer UK in setting this group up and continues to provide secretariat support. This included support for the production of the Group’s report Time to change the story: a plan of action for pancreatic cancer, which was launched at a House of Commons reception attended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
We have provided the charity with on-going support for political engagement across a range of areas, including early diagnosis, research and patient experience. Most recently, we have helped the charity develop a campaigning strategy that sets out priorities and a stakeholder engagement strategy. Throughout this, we have ensured that parliamentary activity supports the discussions which Pancreatic Cancer UK is having with civil servants and NHS officials.
Whitehouse’s support for political engagement has allowed Pancreatic Cancer UK to significantly increase the profile of pancreatic cancer among policymakers – while positioning themselves as the leading charity in this policy area. Huge progress has been made towards identifying what needs to change in this policy area and gaining the support of decision makers for change.
Work such as the Pancreatic Cancer All Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry into the reasons for poor outcomes and patient experience has caught the attention of senior civil servants and NHS figures, ensuring that the recommendations made will be given proper consideration by those with the power to make changes.
Whitehouse’s professional insight and practical support have enabled us to significantly raise the political profile of pancreatic cancer – in a way that is required to start to make a difference to those affected by this disease. They have worked with us from the very start to build the relationships we need with parliamentarians at constituency as well as ministerial level – as well as with senior civil servants. We have greatly benefitted from their efforts and have immensely valued their contribution to our work.