The NHS White Paper and cancer services
Grahame Morris MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Cancer and Member of the Health Select Committee, chaired this breakout session on the NHS White Paper published in July 2010 ‘Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS’ and its potential impact on cancer services.
Speakers who addressed this session included Maggie Alexander, Director of Policy, Education and Influencing, Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Mary Barnes, Director, Avon Somerset & Wiltshire Cancer Network; and Dr Fiona MacNeill, Consultant Breast Surgeon at the Royal Marsden.
Delegates were presented with the key goals of the NHS white paper:
Putting patients first ‘no decision about me without me’
Improving patient outcomes
Improving accountability by shifting decision making closer to the patient.
Maggie Alexander, Mary Barnes and Grahame Morris MP
GP commissioning was a major focus for the session. There was agreement that the new system should ensure a seamless patient journey through the complex cancer pathway. Delegates expressed concern about the future of Cancer Networks and while there was acknowledgement that their structure is likely to change there was agreement that the new system must retain or recruit cancer expertise to support commissioning.
Delegates heard that information and data, with appropriate support, is the key to achieving greater patient choice. There was a call for the Department of Health to work with local charities to make increased patient involvement a reality.
Issues raised by delegates included a concern that public health expertise is at risk with the transfer of responsibilities to Local Authorities, a call for outcome measures during the pathway, the importance of access to life-saving, but expensive, equipment and the importance of Partnership Forums.
What needs to happen next?
Grahame Morris MP concluded by saying that the APPGC will continue to drive forward its eight recommendations for cancer and will seek an inquiry in to the future of cancer services through the Health Select Committee.