“We all have to talk about this more” – Carmichael speaks in Brain Tumour Research Funding debate

10 Mar 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called for a better strategy from the government on brain tumour research funding in a debate in Parliament. Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Carmichael highlighted the progress made in recent years in delivering ringfenced funding for research, but warned that structural problems were still standing in the way. The MP also highlighted the wider need for more openness in talking about brain tumours amongst friends and family.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“As the hon. Gentleman knows, I have been on this journey with him since that quite remarkable Westminster Hall debate in 2016. We said then that we needed the money; we got the money, but now we find that there are structural problems still standing in the way of the progress we need. To me, that says that there is probably nobody in charge of the strategy within the Department.

“Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if we can achieve anything in this debate, it will be to hear a commitment from ministers that somebody will take charge of this strategy and make it happen?”

Responding, Conservative MP Derek Thomas said:

“Of course, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Actually, I want the Government to go further and make brain tumour research the priority of all cancer research, because we have not seen the progress that we should have in that time.”

Speaking later in the debate Mr Carmichael added:

“I speak about this publicly from time to time, and I am always struck by the number of people who say to me, “Thank you for doing that, because this took my father”—or their brother, their neighbour, their friend or whoever—“and I had no idea that this had been their life experience.” When I was growing up, 40 or 50 years ago, a cancer diagnosis really was not talked about—it was almost taboo—and I think we are in the same place with brain cancers. If we are to make the progress we need, we all have to start talking about this much more. The experience has to be shared.”