NHS reform in England
The NHS in England is going through the biggest changes in its 60 year history, with potentially huge impacts on cancer care.
Following changes to the health system, ‘NHS England’ is now responsible for supporting NHS services nationally. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), made up of doctors, nurses and other professionals, will run local services at regional level.
What do we want from the new NHS?
There are some key things we’ve been keeping an eye on throughout the process of NHS reform:
Patient experience: We want to make sure patient experience is a central part of how performance is measured across the new NHS. A positive experience of care empowers patients, helping them relate to professionals, and improving their well-being.
Cancer networks: These are groups of specialists who support the development of cancer services locally. Their role will be changing as part of the reforms and Macmillan has been working to ensure that cancer services are not compromised as a result. Find out more about our work on cancer networks.
Survival rates: We want them to be measured and improved for all types of cancer, not just the most common types.
What have we achieved so far?
The National Cancer Patient Experience survey gathers the views of cancer patients on which NHS Trusts are performing well and where improvements are needed.
We have been campaigning for the survey to be repeated annually, and funding has been approved for 2013. However, a commitment to hold the survey in future years has yet to be made.
Read our report: Improving care for people with cancer
Read our response to the latest survey results.
Read our report Improving cancer patient experience: a top tips guide
Read our report on the 2011-12 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey: League table and tumour group variations.
As part of the NHS reforms, cancer networks will be absorbed into new Strategic Clinical Networks. In October 2012 we heard reports that this change could mean a cut in the number of people supporting the work of cancer networks. There was also a risk that their focus would be narrowed, instead of making the most of their specialist knowledge. Read Macmillan's statement on Strategic Clinical Networks.
After we spoke out against this, the number of positions in Strategic Clinical Networks support teams was increased, so there will be more staff to support cancer services in the new system.
The networks will now look not just at early diagnosis, but improving all aspects of cancer care including treatment, patient experience and survivorship. Read our response to the revised proposals.
However, the work is far from over, and there are still uncertainties over how the new NHS will work for people with cancer.
Following work from Macmillan and the All Parliamentary Group on Cancer, the new NHS will be held to account on how it improves cancer survival rates.
Despite initially suggesting the focus would be on the three most common types of cancer, the former NHS Commissioning Board announced in December 2012 that the new system would use survival rates for all types of cancer as a measure of how well the system is doing, both nationally and locally.
Read Macmillan's response to the announcement on survival rates.
Key reports on the new NHS
Improving care for people with cancer [PDF]
The importance of the Cancer Patient Experience Survey [PDF]
Making the new NHS work for people with cancer [PDF]
The role of Cancer Networks in the new NHS [PDF]
The future of cancer networks [PDF]
Macmillan's response to National Institute of Clinical Excellence consultation on potential new indicators for Clinical Commissioning Groups [PDF]