Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Rasing cancer concerns with Health Secretary - 16/06/11

To support Volunteers' Week I popped in to the Cancer Research UK shop in Butterfly Walk.

For anyone who thinks charity shops have to be dull and dusty - Cancer Research's shop in Butterfly walk is exactly the opposite. 

They've got a great selection of clothing, candles, crockery, books and gifts - in a bright airy shop with friendly staff.  So I highly recommend a visit.  I bought a lovely cushion for my sofa!

This charity shop works because of the generosity of local people donating things rather than leaving them in the back of the cupboard or throwing them away.  And it works because of the great team of local volunteers who sort the goods, price them and then man the tills.

One volunteer I met had been a nurse at St Thomas' hospital.  She'd retired but her work had made her passionately committed to cancer research and like so many retired people she's got bags of energy so she volunteers in the shop.

Another volunteer had worked in the Woolworths in Camberwell till it closed.  She couldn't get another job but is now using her skills and great retail experience in the Cancer Research shop.

It was inspiring to hear of the commitment of the volunteers.  But I think there's a threat hanging over future cancer research because of the government's NHS Bill.  I've contacted the Health Secretary because Cancer Research UK are worried that the new health reforms will mean less money is spent on early diagnosis.  We know that the earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chance of success in beating cancer.  That's why it's so wrong that the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government has scrapped the right for patients to get tests back within seven days and are not keeping to Labour's promise that patients will see a specialist within two weeks.  The number of patients waiting more than six weeks for cancer tests has doubled since last year.

The volunteers in Camberwell are helping the fight against cancer.  The government should not be undermining it.

 cancer research in shop

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