Lockhart welcomes PM support for childhood cancer campaign

Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart has secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to work together on improving benefit support for children and families who face a childhood cancer diagnosis.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Speaking after her PMQ Carla Lockhart said,

“I am greatly encouraged by the Prime Minister’s answer today where he recognises the stress and strains placed on a family in this heart-breaking situation.

The Watson and Ogle families both with connections to my constituency sadly lost their children Adam and Poppy following their diagnosis. Their homes are forever broken but, in their memory, both families want to see change, they want to see greater support available at the point of diagnosis.

The benefit system in place in the initial weeks of diagnosis fails these families given that they have to wait three months if the diagnosis is not initially terminal for a Child DLA claim to be processed even though care needs start immediately.

These families are then put under financial strain as the parents may have to give up their jobs to look after their children during this difficult time. This means these families may have little to no income during the 3 month delay in securing DLA to support themselves and their families. This makes a difficult time following a diagnosis even harder due to added stress, pressure and financial worries.

On average there are just over 1600 new cases of children’s cancer diagnosed per year. Each cancer diagnosis in the home is devastating particularly when it is a child as they are so precious. I urge the Government to make this change to the DLA system to ensure that every one of these children and their families are shown compassion and have financial support from the initial point of the cancer diagnosis.”

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