Commissioning high quality cancer services in the new NHS
Delegates heard presentations from Stephen Parsons, Director of the National Cancer Action Team (NCAT), Mary Barnes, Director of the Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire Cancer Network, Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research at Macmillan Cancer Support, and Dr Winnie Kwan, Clinical Lead for Cancer for Bexley.
Macmillan Cancer Support's Mike Hobday.
The session opened with speakers discussing with delegates what quality looks like from the patient’s perspective. Each speaker presented to delegates the role that their organisation can play in ensuring high quality cancer services in the new NHS.
During discussions speakers highlighted the need for commissioners to become better at understanding the costs associated with the services that they commission. Collection and interpretation of data to inform commissioning is vital. It was widely agreed that primary care will have a vital role to play in the care of people with cancer. GPs need to look at both their patients’ individual needs, but also at broader issues. This will play a key role in integrating services, early diagnosis, prevention and aftercare; help to manage co-morbidities; and actively contribute to reducing emergency admissions.
The delegates went on to discuss the opportunities and challenges for commissioning high quality cancer services in the reformed NHS. Some key challenges identified were: Low public awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and of preventative actions, how to engage with Clinical Commissioning Groups about Cancer, possible fragmentation, and cancer not seen as a priority at the local level. Some key opportunities mentioned were the focus on outcomes, greater role for primary care, chance to use data to make evidence-based strong contracts and to use them to hold providers to account, chance to develop a commissionable, patient – centred, holistic integrated pathway of care and the opportunity to achieve real patient engagement.