NHS England’s Cancer Taskforce has ambitious plans to improve performance and quality in cancer care. The new 2020 target involves patients receiving results from cancer tests within four weeks of referral by a GP. Older radiotherapy machines are to be replaced and specialist staff recruited. Cancer patients will have online access to their test results, and a receive support from a specialist nurse or similar expert to co-ordinate their care.
The five-year plan, described as a “route map for prevention, earlier diagnosis, modern treatments and compassionate care”, will cost £400 million. It could mean that 30,000 more patients survive for 10 years, mostly as a result of earlier diagnosis.
“Currently 280,000 people in England are diagnosed with cancer each year – with half surviving for at least 10 years”.
Triggle, N. (2015). Cancer diagnosis ‘within four weeks’ under new care plan. London: BBC Health News, July 19th 2015.
Further background / cancer statistics:
Triggle, N. (2015). Cancer: The challenge facing the NHS. London: BBC Health News, July 18th 2015.
Cancer Research UK has identified unacceptable variations between different areas in England by reviewing cases from 2012 and 2013. Around 20,000 cases could have been reviewed earlier, if all areas had been as good as the best:
Triggle, N. (2015). Early cancer diagnosis variation ‘unacceptable’. London: BBC Health News, October 28th 2015.
This relates to:
Where cancer patients live could influence late diagnosis. London: Cancer Research UK, October 28th 2015.
June 2019 Update
Triggle, N. [and] Jeavans, C. (2019). The worst places for cancer care waits revealed. London: BBC Health News, June 13th 2019.
More on the NHS England / Independent Cancer Taskforce Position
The six strategic priorities recommended by the Independent Cancer Taskforce are as follows:
- Upgrade to the prevention agenda and public health.
- Earlier diagnosis.
- Patient experience on a par with clinical effectiveness and safety.
- Support for people living with and beyond cancer.
- Investment for modern high-quality service.
- Overhaul of commissioning, accountability and provision.
Taskforce report aims to boost cancer survival and transform patient experience. London: NHS England, July 19th 2015.
The four-week (28 day) waiting time target recommended by the Independent Cancer Taskforce will be tested in five hospitals before plans for roll-out nationwide. Faster diagnosis could save 11,000 lives each year.
Target of four-week cancer diagnosis. London: BBC Health News, September 13th 2015.
Cancer Taskforce. [Online]: Cancer Research UK / Independent Cancer Taskforce, 2015.
This relates to:
Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2020. London: Independent Cancer Taskforce, July 16th 2015.
There is also an Executive Summary.
Department of Health announces plans to improve cancer care by reducing time to diagnosis. London: Department of Health, September 13th 2015.
A further NHS England piece, mentioning Cancer Alliances and a Cancer Dashboard:
Making a step change in cancer services – Professor Sean Duffy. London: NHS England, October 12th 2015.
The Lancet Oncology Commission
Probably of interest (“recommended reading” cited in the above):
Rubin, G. Berendsen, A. [and] Crawford, SM. [et al] (2015). The expanding role of primary care in cancer control. Lancet Oncology. September 2015; 16(12): 1231-72.
NHS England’s Cancer Services Transformation Leader
NHS England has announced the appointment of the NHS leader to drive improved cancer services. Cally Palmer: NHS England’s NHS National Cancer Director will lead implementation of the NHS Cancer Taskforce’s five year strategy for cancer care improvement and the new Cancer Vanguards.
NHS England appoints senior clinicians and frontline leaders to drive next phase of Five Year Forward View implementation. London: NHS England, October 13th 2015.
Possibly of interest:
Triggle, N. (2016). Cancer care: Is world-class status a distant dream? London: BBC Health News, October 25th 2016.
Cancer One-Stop Shops: Rapid Diagnostic and Assessment Centres
Faster cancer diagnosis will be facilitated by the creation of “One-stop shops” in England, In addition to the earlier diagnosis, such centres should help prevent patients being referred for several disconnected tests with delays in between. Patients should be either diagnosed or given the all-clear within 28 days.
‘One-stop shops’ set to speed up cancer diagnosis. London: BBC Health News, April 3rd 2018.
This relates to:
New ‘one stop shops’ for cancer to speed up diagnosis. [Online]: NHS England, April 3rd 2018.
An earlier announcement concerning prostate cancer diagnosis, possibly also of interest:
NHS ‘one stop shop’ for prostate cancer means faster and more accurate diagnosis. [Online]: NHS England, March 6th 2018.
A report by Orchid indicates that 37% of prostate cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed late.
Prostate cancer: four in 10 cases diagnosed late, charity says. London: BBC Health News, April 10th 2018.
This relates to:
Prostate cancer: Britain’s growing problem. [Online]: Orchid, April 2018.
The Fry and Turnbull Effect?
Prostate cancer has become the type of cancer diagnosed most commonly in England, overtaking breast cancer.
Roberts, M. (2020). Prostate overtakes breast as ‘most common cancer’. London: BBC Health News, January 27th 2020.