At this year's conference delegates were encouraged to give their comments and ideas, as well as questions they have on:
- How to improve cancer services
- The opportunities and possible risks the Government’s health reforms pose for cancer services.
The APPGC will use the comments, summarised below, to inform our parliamentary activity over the course of 2011.
- More training for GPs to enable them to carry out diagnostic tests
- How can you ensure continuity of care through GP commissioning? And how can someone really commission and provide without bias?
- My GP should be my advocate, not my adversary in determining care.
- Cancer networks are essential; they are at the forefront of cancer service planning – they must stay
- Keep the integrity of the cancer networks. Their skills will support consortia better than PCT bureaucracy.
- Radiotherapy cures cancer in over 40% of cases and its delivery is very sophisticated. Why is there always such a focus on chemotherapy drugs when the outcomes from those drugs is not known?
- Greater access to and funding for cancer treatments
- Much quicker and easier access to scanning tests (CT/MRI etc)
- Ensuring whole care pathways are commissioned more effectively so patients receive continuity of care
- Patients do not want choice – they want clear expert clinicians and the best care, which we can do but not under new reforms
- What role for ‘The Big Society’ in the new NHS? How can small/medium sized charities play a bigger part in delivering integrated cancer services?
Clinical nurse specialists
- Specialist cancer nurses that hold open access clinics in GP surgeries on a regular basis
- 1-2-1 nurses for everyone.
- Collect more data on: equalities; the stage at which cancer is diagnosed; and on incidents of metastatic/secondary cancer diagnosis
Raising awareness of cancer
- National patient information campaign for ovarian cancer – otherwise how do woman know early enough if they don’t know the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle?
- National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative – TV ‘public health style’ ads (but better!) on cancer awareness
- Make sure we’re raising awareness of important risk factors as well as signs and symptoms, eg obesity and alcohol
Prevention and early diagnosis
- Prevention: contentious, but information on tobacco sales to be made available by GP commissioning group area so that we can know what is being sold where. This would provide a more real time measure than smoking surveys.
- We hear about a lot of work to reduce smoking due to its link with cancer. There is a lot of evidence demonstrating a link between alcohol consumption and cancer. Last month a report by experts showed alcohol to be the most dangerous drug. Why isn’t more being done to reduce alcohol consumption? Is it because drinking is considered more socially acceptable than smoking?
- Early diagnosis – if our survival rates are lower than some or Europe what are they doing that we aren’t? If it works, adopt it!
- More diagnosis, no resources for more treatment and drugs!
- More funding and research for rarer cancers
- Will the White Paper and demise of the PCTs worsen the early diagnosis of rarer cancers?
- Brain tumour patients automatically lose their driving licence so can’t they automatically be given free transport during treatment?
- More funding for brain tumour research
- Reduce wait between tests and results. Some brain tumour patients wait 6 weeks for scan results
- Lack of neuro-pathologists – need more asap
- Keep results target to one week
- Ensure there is an increased focus on quality of life outcomes that impact on education, employment and relationships.
- Care plans for cancer survivors
- Survivorship: don’t forget occupational therapists and physios.
- Post cancer recovery support: to rebuild self-esteem/confidence/ability to rejoin workforce. Holistic therapies, eg art therapy, as a vehicle for communication especially for mouth cancer.
- If a politician doesn’t know the answer he really should just be honest and not try and pretend he knows about cancer
- Please listen to the patient (bowel cancer survivor)
- National Cancer Intelligence Network is essential to improving outcomes for cancer
- An annual patient experience survey
- Too much money has been wasted – we must stop and ask the public what they want
- Focus on outcomes, especially one year survival – enforce improvement
- Being able to die at home if you want
- Need more oncologists for geriatric members of the population
- More support for children with cancer and their families.