Martin Whitfield MSP has welcomed a new petition by Haddington resident Wendy Swain for changes to government policy for people who are going through cancer treatment and at the same time awaiting their Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Currently, many people who are undergoing cancer treatment, including Wendy’s husband Paul, face long waits for their PIP to come through. Some people are having to wait up to 20 weeks before their payments begin, forcing some to go back to work when they should not.

Mrs Swain has submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament asking it to urge the Scottish Government to make sure that people with a cancer diagnosis will have their applications for Adult Disability Payment (which replaces PIP next year) fast-tracked and for a separate department to deal with their applications.

Commenting on her campaign, Wendy Swain said:

“Currently people like my husband Paul and many others who are going through gruelling cancer treatment are still awaiting their PIP payments. I feel that they’re being treated appallingly, and I want to do something about it.

“Going through cancer treatment is stressful enough without having to be worrying about how to pay your bills, keep a roof over your head and if you have enough for your next meal. I know of people who are being forced back to work when they shouldn’t be.

“The current system administered by Department for Work & Pensions for PIP payments treats people with very little dignity or respect. You are left hanging on the phone and when they say they will get back to you they don’t. This is no way to treat people who are dealing with cancer.

“I’m doing this to support the many people who are going through this terrible process, including many here in East Lothian. I’m asking everyone to support my campaign by signing the petition. I want to see as many people as possible sign it and help support people with cancer when they need it the most.

“I also want to thank Councillor Shamin Akhtar who has helped me to get this campaign off the ground, and Martin Whitfield MSP for raising the issue and supporting this campaign at the Scottish Parliament.”

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“People undergoing cancer treatment have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. They are desperate for support when they need it the most. But, all too often, the social security system places barriers in the way of people living with cancer and other long-term conditions.

“The devolution of many aspects of the welfare system and the establishment of Social Security Scotland provides an opportunity to do things in a more caring and people-centred way. PIP is becoming Adult Disability Payment next year and it’s time for a new, fairer approach.”

The full petition is set out below and can be supported online at

PE1913: Fast-track future Adult Disability Payment applications for people undergoing cancer treatment 

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to create a separate department within Social Security Scotland that will fast track future Adult Disability Payment (ADP) applications for people with a cancer diagnosis whilst they are undergoing treatment.