Sheffield MP calls for financial support and vaccine priority for vulnerable people

A Sheffield MP has been praised for calling in Parliament for support for people vulnerable to Covid-19.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:42 pm

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, who himself has had a stem cell transplant for blood cancer, asked a question about the lack of financial support for people who have had the same treatment and have seriously-compromised immune systems

Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan welcomed the Parliamentary questions asked by Clive and Newport East Labour colleague Jessica Morden about support for stem cell transplant patients in this phase of the pandemic.

They are concerned that stem cell transplantation patients, who have been shown to be the most vulnerable to Covid-19, are not receiving the support through the furlough scheme that they need to keep them safe by staying home.

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Sheffield Spouth East MP Clive Betts

They are also worried that non-cancer patients who had a transplant more than six months ago are not given priority for Covid-19 vaccinations.

Clive Betts said: ‘Having had a stem cell transplant myself, I know that people are vulnerable and immuno-compromised, putting them at the highest risk of Covid-19. However, because my transplant was to treat blood cancer, I already fall into priority level 4.

“Covid-19 has effectively placed transplant recipients’ lives on hold. Granting all these patients priority access to the vaccine is the right thing to do. Allowing access to furlough while they wait will alleviate worry for many.

“It’s so important that the Government provides proper protections for vulnerable patients.”

Henny Braund, chief executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “The current Covid-19 vaccination priority list states non-malignant stem cell transplant patients who received their transplant more than six months ago receive less priority than other stem cell transplant patients.

“We believe this is wrong because these are people with a high level of vulnerability. It’s vital that Matt Hancock rectifies this anomaly. We'd also like to see family members get access to the vaccine, so they protect their loved ones.

“It is also important for the Government to mandate employers to protect Clinically Extremely Vulnerable transplant recipients from choosing between risking their health or finances. This can easily be addressed by granting them automatic access to the furlough scheme.

“The consequence of stem cell transplant patients not receiving all the available financial support is for them and their families to risk falling into serious financial hardship.

“We know these issues are causing considerable anxiety for our patients and we’re grateful to Jessica Morden MP and Clive Betts MP for raising them in Parliament.”