Brain Tumour Research - Helping the charity become the leading voice for patients and instigate real change

PB Consulting have worked with Brain Tumour Research for over 4 years, taking the issue from something which got little attention in Parliament to the focus of a Department of Health Task & Finish Group.

We have helped to create and distil the messages that would resonate inside and outside Parliament, creating an effective campaign. Starting by building awareness of the key issues, we have identified a group of parliamentary champions to drive forward the cause and harness the energy and drive of campaigners across the country.

Our achievements have included exposing the statistics behind brain tumours in a yearly annual report, and growing understanding inside and outside of Parliament of these disease. However it is the recent e-petition success that has been the highlight of our work. Brain Tumour Research has been established as the leading voice for in the UK for brain tumour patients and their families, as well as the most prominent champion of investing into research. On top of this, the campaign has managed to force a change in Government policy and now we are on the cusp of significant changes to research policy in the UK.

What we achieved

The E-Petition, Committee and Task & Finish Group

In the UK brain tumours account for the death of more under 40s and children than any other cancer, with five year survival rates of just 19.8%. Despite these shocking statistics and the undoubted importance of research to find treatments, research for brain tumours is underfunded. Over the past twenty years only 1% of cancer research spent on brain tumours. A stark contrast can be seen clearly when comparing historical survival rates for cancer as a whole, where research has led to survival rates doubling from 1970 to 2010, to brain tumours, where survival rates only increased by 7.5%.

When the new Petitions Select Committee was announced PB Consulting launched a campaign with the charity and a patient that started an e-petition with a family affected by brain tumours. The petition called for the Government to raise investment to £30-£35 million per annum for brain tumours. Our campaign helped to ensure that the e-petition was quickly chosen by the House of Commons Petition’s Committee for its inaugural investigation and report, and that it raised the required signatures.

We ensured that during the inquiry, the Committee heard from the families and experts whose input was crucial in building a complete picture, and that significant support within Parliament was generated. The Select Committee report concluded that “brain tumour patients have been let down by a lack of leadership from successive governments”, and that much more needed to be done to improve research and care. The report was debated in a packed Westminster Hall, with MPs standing around the room to ensure they were able to speak at this momentous occasion.

In the Government response the report was welcomed, and it was accepted that more needed to be done both inside and outside Government to facilitate research into brain tumours. A series of steps were announced that would be implemented to address the historic lack of leadership shown, offering the leadership our campaign had been calling for. Included in the response was the formation of a ‘Task & Finish’ group within the Department of Health. This group will analyse the areas highlighted by the Petitions Committee report and will be the start of a set of policies that begin to address the structural problems within UK research, giving hope to thousands of patients and their families.