The Blood Cancer Alliance, a group of cancer charities of which Lymphoma Action is a member, have written to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, to express concern about the new shielding guidance that has been issued to clinical extremely vulnerable patients. Blood cancer patients, which includes those with lymphoma, make up a significant proportion of those affected.
The Alliance have asked Matt Hancock to take action to ensure:
- that the Governments write to all those who will be asked to follow new guidance quickly and comprehensively
- that clinically extremely vulnerable patients be given the automatic right to be furloughed if they cannot work from home and in accordance with shielding guidance. The new guidance and furlough scheme currently put the responsibility in the hands of employers, which can lead to distressing negotiations, and potentially forces the choice between health and finances
- that all those that are clinically extremely vulnerable should have access to basic food and medical supplies
- that clear guidance is given on measures clinical extremely vulnerable patients should take if they live with school-aged children, or with adults who are leaving the home for work.
In addition, Lymphoma Action is one of 50 charities who have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, asking them to give the NHS what it needs to provide the best cancer care.
The letter urges the Governments to minimise the impact of COVID-19, protect cancer care and uphold their ambitions to improve cancer survival throughout the four nations. It appeals to the Governments to support the NHS, enable COVID-free ‘safe spaces’ for people with cancer and provide frequent testing of NHS staff.
Ropinder Gill, Chief Executive of Lymphoma Action comments: ‘It is vital that blood cancer patients continue to be in the minds of Governments at this challenging time. In collaboration with other charities, we will continue to put pressure on Governments to ensure people affected by lymphoma are not forgotten in this second wave of COVID-19.'