This week, Brain Tumour Research took part in two fringe events at Labour Party Conference.
We joined colleagues from the Neurological Alliance at an event entitled, “The Neuro Reception How can Labour back the 1 in 6 with a neurological condition?”
Then, following on from last week’s event at the Conservative Party Conference, we were part of the second instalment of the Health Charity Showcase 2023. Organised by Hanover Communications, the event showcased the invaluable contribution that health charities make across the patient pathway.
The Neuro Reception included speeches from Sam Mountney, Policy and External Affairs Manager of the Neurological Alliance, and Pippa Sergeant CEO of The Brain Charity.
Sam highlighted some of the shared experience of the neurological community. Currently, those with a neurological condition experience delays to treatment, are unable to access the mental wellbeing support they need and find it difficult to obtain the right information and support.
Pippa spoke about the Brain Charity’s most recent report, It’s all in your head. At present, there are 800,000 hospital admissions per year due to neurological conditions, with individuals often arriving at A&E at the point of crisis. Early diagnosis, she said “is key to reducing this number and supporting people experiencing neurological conditions on what can be an uncertain and frightening journey”.
At the event, our Policy and Public Affairs Manager Thomas Brayford spoke to Lord Alf Dubs, a long-time supporter of the Neurological Alliance.
He told Thomas: “There’s still a lack of knowledge and information about neurological conditions. We need more awareness and better training. That will lead to better outcomes, including for the brain tumour community.”
At the Health Charity Showcase, there were brief speeches from Health Shadow Ministers, Preet Gill MP (pictured with Thomas) and Karin Smyth MP.
Preet said that Labour would focus on reform to the health system and “making sure they can deliver locally and target services to patients’ needs”. Acknowledging the importance of campaigning and our lobbying for political support in order to address the issues affecting the brain tumour community, she said: “I just wanted to say how valuable the work that you do is.”
Karin said it was important to continue conversations with research charities as a way of informing the Labour Shadow Health Team but also so that they can “talk with authority when they have important policy discussions”.
Thomas said: “At conference, I spoke to councillors, MPs and Lords about more awareness, better training, about the mental health toll of a brain tumour diagnosis, unblocking the funding bottleneck and the important recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours’ report. There’s a political will, but from will to action is a journey we must go on together.”