Cancer services in England
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It is vital that the NHS works well for cancer patients. We therefore monitor and analyse the state of cancer services in the NHS, and call for improvements to ensure cancer patients get the best care possible.
Since the cancer strategy was published in 2015, we have continued to monitor the state of cancer services in England to ensure that the challenges outlined in our 2014 report ‘Measuring up?’ are being addressed.
Two of the key challenges we reported are being addressed. A national cancer team has been set up to provide national leadership for cancer services and to make sure the cancer strategy comes a reality. And local Cancer Alliances, made of up doctors and NHS managers from across the system, have been set up to provide local leadership and cut through the confusion about the responsibilities of new NHS organisations.
However, in 2014 we also reported a lack of capacity to respond to rising demand, and fragmentation of commissioning across the patient pathway. While the NHS is taking steps to address this fragmentation in cancer by bringing commissioners and providers together in new structures called Cancer Alliances. These groups are still in their early stages.
Capacity in NHS cancer services remains a big challenge. Demand continues to grow, and while NHS staff are working harder than ever to keep up, waiting times continue to increase. These pressures are causing poorer current performance and having a negative impact on the successful implementation of the cancer strategy.
We will continue to monitor the implementation of the cancer strategy to ensure that patients see the benefits.