12 January 2011
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support said:
'We welcome the strategy’s detail and commitment to improving early diagnosis and aftercare services for cancer patients. The combination of a cancer survivor survey, care plans for all cancer patients and investment in after care services should lead to cancer patients feeling less abandoned after treatment. Instead they are more likely to to cope with their diagnosis, to manage the long term effects of cancer and to get their lives back on track. That is all good news.
'However, it is disappointing that the strategy is not clear on how GPs will get the substantial support they need in order to commission cancer services under the radically restructured NHS. The commissioning support currently available through Cancer Networks has only had its funding secured for one more year. There is no indication of what support will be available after this point.
'This is particularly important as according to NFP research, only 8% of GPs have a specialism or a particular interest in cancer, compared with 25% for diabetes and 16% for mental health1. With such a low starting point for specialist knowledge, commissioning for cancer is likely to be very challenging for GPs and they will need as much support as possible.
'Without the expert support such as that Cancer Networks provide, GPs will find it impossible to do their new role.'
For further information, please contact:
Andrea Shufflebotham, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4689 / 0207 840 7821(Out of Hours: 07801 307 068)
Notes to editors
1. NFP Synergy, Primary Healthcare Professionals Monitor, September 2010.
2. Cancer networks are facilitated collectives of organisations and clinicians who have are key to Cancer care within a specific geographic area that cover England (28 in all). The Network is supported by a Network Team who generally consist of a Network Director as well as a Medical and Nurse Director, admin support to organise the meetings that bring together the stakeholders in that area and a small number of project and service improvement staff that support the cross organisational work necessary to ensure consistency and efficiency of care for people with cancer where ever they line in that geographic area in line with the national strategies and local user involvement.
About Macmillan Cancer Support:
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with and beyond cancer.