Malcolm Harrington: proposals will be of “considerable benefit” to cancer patients

During the week we ran a post criticising the government’s response regarding cancer patients to the Harrington review. Subsequently Malcolm Harrington, author of the eponymous review, has in a letter to The Guardian given a different view from that given in both the post and the paper’s own coverage of the story:

This issue is an incredibly important and sensitive one for many people. Contrary to your article, I believe the government’s proposals would significantly improve on the current system and would be of considerable benefit to those who face the real personal challenge of a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

The government’s proposals have been developed as a result of evidence submitted to me by Macmillan and discussions with cancer specialists. The proposals would considerably increase the number of people who receive unconditional support in the benefits system. They would also reduce, not increase, the number of face-to-face assessments that individuals suffering from cancer would undergo.

The proposals are underpinned by a presumption that people undergoing cancer treatment will be entitled to the benefit if they have the necessary supporting evidence. They widen the scope of the people this applies to, while also allowing people who want to work to do so. This will mean better provision all round.

Delays in these proposals may ultimately affect individuals and their quality of life.

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7 Comments

  • I am very pleased that Malcolm Harrington has contacted the site. The original post did not seem to be accurate.

  • Oops, I see he has written to the Guardian, not to this website.

  • mike cobley 10th Dec '11 - 9:18pm

    This really isnt good enough – if Harrington wants to be convincing, he should provide an illustrative case history example of a typical individual and how they would be treated by the proposed system, with references/excerpts from the papers in question. This party once stood for minimising avoidable suffering but now its MPs seem to be standing mute as avoidable suffering is being allowed to widen, deepen and intensify. Trust needs to be earned, and I see precious little evidence that it is in any way deserved by the party’s upper ranks.

  • Sorry, but if this is implemented it will not benefit cancer patients. They will just be made to go through hoops to claim benefits, just like disabled people who have been moved off incapacity benefit after passing a ridiculous assessment. Many of those genuinely disabled people who have been moved onto JSA must now do 30 hours of unpaid work a week to keep their benefits. The proposal may have good intentions, but is open for substantial abuse if implemented.

  • I agree with George.

  • Again, seeing as how you’re not posting it yet, here’s what Macmillian think of LibDem attacks on people facing the toughest fight of their lives, Cancer:

    http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/News/Latest_News/DWPproposestoforcechemotherapypatientstoundergostressfulbenefitchecks.aspx

    But it isn’t the EU or AV, so I guess LibDems won’t fight *too* hard on this!

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