In summer, when we launched the Petition for a ban on sunbeds in the UK, we were warned that “it will never happen”., “it’s been tried before, you won’t get many signatures” – well, here we are, the beginning of December and the petition has over 15,000 signatures and has captured the attention of many people, including Ryan Sidebottom, ex England and Yorkshire cricketer and Amanda Stretton, racing driver and motoring correspondent.  

This week, Gill Nuttall, Melanoma UK’s founder and Rol Hawkins, a stage 4 patient, travelled to Westminster and met with Pauline Latham MP who is the Chair of the melanoma taskforce. Pauline’s brother died of melanoma a number of years ago, and recently, she herself has been diagnosed. She fully supports our work and has been a great advocate for a number of years.   Pauline Latham MP 2020 Skin Cancer Visions

Pauline has very kindly offered to put the issue forward for a Westminster Hall debate. Like us, she is adamant that this matter should be given a proper hearing and once we have the date for this, we will update. 

In the meantime, the Petition continues to gather signatures and we will keep pushing the Petition. Many patients and our supporters have written to their own MPs and explained what diagnosis of melanoma actually means, both in terms of the impact on their health and family lives, and also from a cost perspective to the NHS: We cannot get away from the fact that a stage 4 melanoma patient will cost the NHS an enormous amount of money and we believe that a ban on sunbeds will bring about a change for the better.

Pauline did say that if any patients can get to actually meet with their MPs, that is always a good way of gaining support – a face to face meeting can often be really helpful. If a politician sees that this disease does for themselves, the impact can be very meaningful.

We have also written to Debbie Abrahams who has now sent a very helpful response insofar as she says this: “I am sorry that the Government response to the petition was so poor and I would be happy to do what I can to try and get answers from the Health Secretary.” – We will be taking her up on that, of course.

In the meantime, we would ask that you keep sharing the petition and supporting our work.