Mark Tami MP has backed a campaign by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, calling for better care for people recovering from a stem cell transplant.

Despite stem cell transplant patients often being known as “patients for life” due to the long-term side-effects of the treatment, many patients are not receiving adequate support for the physical, practical and psychological challenges they experience during recovery. According to research by Anthony Nolan, one in five are not offered any specialist care to help with their recovery, which includes access to physiotherapists, counsellors, and fertility experts.

Anthony Nolan is calling on health commissioners across the UK to urgently review the care arrangements they have in place for transplant recipients once they leave hospital, to ensure that patients and their families can continue to access vital support and services. National commissioners pay for any treatment needed by patients for the first 100 days after transplant. After this point, responsibility for funding services passes to local commissioners – in England, the patients’ local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). However, a Freedom of Information request by Anthony Nolan found that at present, fewer than one in ten (9%) CCGs have specific arrangements in place.

As chair of the APPG on Stem Cell Transplants Mark Tami MP hosted an event in the House of Commons on Wednesday 11 October where patient representatives told MPs about how difficult recovery can be without appropriate support.

Mark Tami said, “As Chair of the APPG for Stem Cell Transplants, and also as the father of a child who had a stem cell transplant, I am well aware of how important this issue is. The road to recovery is often a very difficult one and the fact that so many of my constituents have been in touch to bring this issue to my attention speaks volumes. It’s essential that stem cell transplant patients and their families receive appropriate support. No patient’s recovery should be made more difficult by a lack of care and support, and that’s why I am, as ever, completely behind Anthony Nolan and championing their campaign to urge health commissioners to review the care arrangements they have in place once transplant patients leave hospital.”

Mark with transplant patients; Chris, Ruth and Joanne

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said, “It’s vital that health commissioners carry out an urgent review into the long-term care that stem cell transplant recipients need throughout their recovery, so we’re delighted to have the continued support of Mark in raising awareness of this issue in Parliament and in their constituency.

“Anthony Nolan is calling on health commissioners to work with us and the clinical community and make sure that post-transplant care works for every patient, to ensure they get the support they need to make a good recovery.”

To support the campaign, visit www.anthonynolan.org/whocares