Health Secretary questioned about brain tumour research funding

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The House of Commons’ Petitions Committee met today (15th January 2019) to follow up its March 2016 report ‘Funding for research into brain tumours’. This had concluded that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades. The Government must now put this right."

In today’s session, the Petitions Committee, which comprises MPs from across all political parties, heard from Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, about what the Government was doing to help advance research into brain tumours. A video recording of the session is available here and at the bottom of this article. 

Members of the Committee focused their questions around the allocation of Government funding for research into brain tumours, how the Department of Health & Social Care is working to develop the infrastructure and grow the workforce required to facilitate more research, what the Department is doing to improve diagnosis rates, and what steps are being taken to ensure the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission is not duplicating previous work. Mr Hancock also gave assurances that families who have lost loved ones to a brain tumour will be fully involved in helping to move recommendations forward thanks to the organisations involved in the process. 

The impetus for this government action was an e-petition started by Brain Tumour Research supporter Maria Lester in August 2015, to mark the anniversary of the death of her brother, Stephen Realf. Stephen, a Royal Air Force officer from Rugby, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just 19 and died at 26.
In April 2016, a Parliamentary debate led to the formation of a DHSC Working Group, which analysed the complex issues around research into brain tumours.
The Working Group’s findings were published in February 2018, with their recommendations to increase the impact of research into brain tumours. Following this, the Government announced a total government and charitable sector funding package of £45 million over five years.

In May 2018, the Government increased its contribution by £20 million, taking the total funding package up to £65 million, in honour of the campaigning work of the late Baroness Tessa Jowell.

See below for a video of today's Petitions Committee meeting:

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