Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has asked the Prime Minister about ensuring people have access to the same cancer services across England.
Mrs Keegan has been campaigning to get St Richard’s Hospital equipped with a linac machine, which is used to administer radiotherapy treatment. She highlighted the prevalence of the cancer and how often the treatment was required.
She said one in two people in the UK now developed cancer at some point in their lifetime, and around 60 per cent of them would require radiotherapy as part of their treatment.
In West Sussex, there isn’t a single linac machine, meaning constituents travelled long distances every day for treatment.
Mrs Keegan said that not only was this costly, but it was also gruelling for people who were feeling so unwell.
She asked: “Will the Prime Minister outline what steps the Government are taking to ensure that my constituents have the same access to medical care as others in adjacent counties?”
The MP has been working on getting this crucial cancer treatment at St Richard’s since entering Parliament.
As part of her campaign, Mrs Keegan has co-founded the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy and sits as the group’s vice-chairman.
The group launched its manifesto in July last year and is now embarking on a report taking evidence from industry professionals across all sectors.
Mrs Keegan also spoke in a Westminster Hall debate entitled ‘Improving the lives of people with dementia.’
In her speech, the MP spoke of her personal experience with the illness as her both her grandmothers suffered from the disease.
Mrs Keegan’s contribution to the debate caught the attention of her colleagues and even attracted laughter as she told those in attendance a story about visiting her nan, saying: “I had just finished my first election campaign, contesting St Helens South and Whiston in 2015—as a Conservative—and wanted to show her my election leaflets.
“At the time, she was in the advanced stages of dementia. She looked at the photos and admired the different outfits I was wearing, but all of a sudden her face went as black as thunder when she realised I was standing as a Conservative.
“‘That is not my party’, she exclaimed. I said ‘Goodness, nan, you can’t remember what you had for breakfast but you still remember that you’re Labour.’
“I went on to reassure her that we had never agreed on politics, and she seemed happy enough with that reply.”
The Chichester MP highlighted some of the work done locally at Sage House, Dementia Support, which is a unique, young charity based at Tangmere.
They provide complete dementia services under one roof in a purpose-built facility.
The site is the only dementia care hub of its kind in the country and offer a unique wayfinding service to support people living with dementia, their families and carers, through their entire dementia journey from pre-diagnosis through to end of life.
Mrs Keegan also raised the work of Careline, the only West Sussex-based telecare monitoring service that provides technological solutions, like their ‘MindMe’ device, which tracks the movements of people suffering with dementia, offering peace of mind to patients, carers and their families.