Lack of cancer expertise risks setting back care by a decade, CCGs told

All CCGs should appoint at least one member with an interest in cancer to avoid damaging more than a decade's progress in NHS cancer care, according to a wide-ranging report.

Professor Greg Rubin: cancer expertise vital (photo: RCGP)
Professor Greg Rubin: cancer expertise vital (photo: RCGP)

The Patient Access to Cancer Care Excellence (PACE UK) report compiled the views of leading clinicians, including senior GPs and patient group representatives.

It warned that the recent NHS reforms and dissolution of various cancer care structures could have a significant and detrimental effect on patient care.

Professor Greg Rubin from Durham University, who is also the RCGP clinical champion for cancer, said: ‘The important progress made as a result of leadership and support for general practice, particularly in the area of early cancer diagnosis, risks being lost if we don’t see continued and concerted action through clinical networks and CCGs.’

The authors claim that the continued de-prioritisation of cancer could set back the quality of care by over a decade if changes are not made.

Dr Ian Watson, an Oldham GPSI in cancer and co-author of the report, said: ‘CCGs are focusing on urgent care, with a risk of there being little direct attention to cancer in their commissioning plans, and commissioning support units may not have anyone leading on cancer. Organisations run the risk of going back 13 years in terms of standards and resource for cancer for primary care.’

The report also suggested that GPs, to compensate for the lack of official cancer networks, should now build their own informal communities of primary and secondary cancer care colleagues to influence what happens at CCG level.

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