Stem cell transplants are used to treat conditions in which the bone marrow is damaged and is no longer able to produce health blood cells. A stem cell or bone marrow transplant replaces damaged blood cells with healthy ones. It can be used to treat various blood cancer conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by blood cancer and I pay tribute to Anthony Nolan for the work it does in conducting vital research and supporting those with this disease. Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry has given thousands of people the opportunity to have a transplant where they previously may not have been able to be matched with a donor.
A stem cell transplant can offer a second chance of life for people with blood cancer and other blood disorders. However, for some patients the recovery after a stem cell transplantation can be a long and difficult journey.
I know that patients often experience severe psychological and emotional stress due to the aggressive nature of the treatment and the need for prolonged hospital stays. I was therefore concerned to learn from a survey by Anthony Nolan that only half of patients recovering from stem cell transplants received emotional and psychological support.
Anthony Nolan’s report, Recovery after Transplant, calls for a review of existing arrangements for commissioning post-transplant care and support to identify gaps in services. It also calls on health commissioners to work with the clinical community to develop a plan to ensure post-transplant commissioning works for every patient.