A Strategy for Cancer
A new independent Taskforce is currently developing a new cancer strategy for England for the NHS, which will help improve survival rates and the experiences of people affected by cancer. Macmillan is working to ensure that the strategy best supports people affected by cancer, particularly during and after treatment.
What will the new strategy cover?
The Taskforce has been asked by NHS England to deliver the vision it set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
The Five Year Forward view sets out a vision for the future of the NHS. It includes three main calls for cancer care:
better treatment, care and aftercare for all those diagnosed with cancer.
In order to deliver in these areas, the strategy will include recommendations on how to improve the prevention of cancer, as well as what people can expect from their first contact with services, diagnosis and treatment. It is also likely to touch on support for those living with and beyond cancer and end-of-life care. We also want to ensure that it also includes ideas for how cancer services can develop and remain innovative in future.
Who else will contribute to the strategy?
For the new strategy to be effective, it is crucial that many different experts from across the health care system are engaged and involved.
The Taskforce is Chaired by Harpal Kumar, the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, and also has members from Royal Colleges, the Department of Health, NHS England, Health Education England and several hospitals and CCGs. See a full list of representatives.
Macmillan is represented on the Taskforce by Juliet Bouverie, our Director of Services and Influencing, and we will also provide support to the strategy’s Secretariat.
The Taskforce also has one patient representative, but there are others ways for you to get involved.
Juliet Bouverie says:
'With 2.5 million people now living with cancer, and numbers set to rise, getting cancer care right has never been more important. This Taskforce shows real commitment from NHS England to make early diagnosis and improved cancer survival rates a strategic priority for the NHS. Macmillan Cancer Support welcomes the opportunity to be at the forefront of developing this vision for cancer services.'
The statement of intent
On 27 March, the Taskforce published a statement of intent which outlines some of the “key shifts” that the cancer strategy will focus on implementing. These include an increase in preventative measures, making sure that people with cancer have access to good information and are able to become involved in decisions around their care, and a greater integration of health and social care.
Responding to the Statement of Intent, Juliet Bouverie, our Director of Services and Influencing, says:
'The Cancer Taskforce statement of intent is a welcome attempt to address the changing story of cancer. Now is the time for a fresh approach to improving the lives of the 2 million people living with cancer in England. It's no longer just about being cured or dying from cancer; many more people are now living with cancer as a long term condition, with physical, emotional and psychological consequences.
'We welcome the commitment to improve early diagnosis and improved access to treatment. But this simply won't deliver the step change we need to ensure the growing number of people living with cancer are able to live active and fulfilled lives.
'We need to see a shift in this country from simply treating cancer as a disease to caring for the whole person. The strategy has to provide a more ambitious approach to supporting people by prioritising compassionate care, support to recover, and choice at the end of life. This means shifting more resources from hospitals into the home and the community.'
What are the next steps for the strategy?
The statement of intent has broadly outlined some of the key ambitions of the strategy. However, more work is now needed ensure these ambitions are reached and to that the strategy covers some of the other areas outlined above.
In February, the Taskforce held a Call for Evidence, to which Macmillan, and many other individuals and cancer organisations, sent a written submission. This evidence will continue to be used to develop the full strategy.
The Taskforce will also be holding meetings to engage with people with cancer, and a range of other experts, across the country. The next event for people with cancer is being held in Central Birmingham on Thursday 21 April - if you would like to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The finalised strategy is due to be published in summer 2015.
This is not the first time that a cancer strategy has been produced with the aim of improving services for people with cancer. Find out about the previous cancer strategy.