With the passing of the Health and Social Care Act in summer 2012, most NHS services will be reorganised, with cancer services no exception.
We commissioned a group of researchers from the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham to look at the impact the reforms have had so far on NHS cancer services. The researchers analysed data on waiting times and spend, and carried out 50 in depth interviews with a range of key people including policy makers, clinicians, and staff from cancer networks, PCTs and CCGs.
The report reveals both positive and negative developments. Positively, most cancer waiting times and treatment targets are being met despite increasing demand for services, although many patients still wait an unacceptably long time for endoscopies.
However, the interviews painted a different picture – services under increasing pressure and beginning to fragment, and a significant loss of expertise within cancer services. Three main fears emerged:
- Improvements to care could be on hold for up to three years due to the widespread change
- Services will be fragmented with new players making decisions about cancer services
- CCGs won’t have the expertise to commission cancer services appropriately
We are calling on the Government to ensure that disruption to cancer services is minimised and innovation is encouraged. All patients deserve access to the best possible treatment and care. We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming months and years.
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team