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Cancer patients in England and Wales facing ‘unacceptable’ wait for support

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The physical and mental health of tens of thousands of cancer patients in England and Wales is deteriorating because they are having to wait months for financial support from the government, a charity has warned.

Macmillan Cancer Support said many are waiting as long as five months to receive their personal independence payment (PIP), which is paid to people with long-term physical and mental health conditions or disability, and who have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around.

Health leaders said the “unacceptable” situation had now become critical, with thousands of cancer patients increasingly desperate for help.

Research for the charity found that among people with cancer who receive PIP, more than one in four (29%) have reported a deterioration in physical or mental health while they wait to receive it. This rises to almost half (46%) among those who wait more than 11 weeks to receive their first payment.

Macmillan is launching a “Pay PIP Now” campaign, saying it is hearing from patients going into debt, skipping meals and cancelling medical appointments due to travel costs, all because of delays to PIP. It wants ministers to cut the average wait times for PIP from 18 weeks at the moment to 12.

Research suggests most people with cancer suffer a financial impact from their diagnosis, including from being unable to work while having treatment, increased heating bills to stay warm and the cost of attending appointments.

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Source: The Guardian, 6 October 2022

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