It is welcome news that a further £130 million is being invested in the latest radiotherapy equipment. It is also welcome news that the consultation on how this radiotherapy investment will be implemented has been extended.
NHS England are proposing the creation of 11 regional Radiotherapy Networks across the UK and are proposing a single Radiotherapy Network for all eight providers in the South West, with different levels of service depending on the catchment population of each centre. This could mean that various radiotherapy cancer treatments may be moved from Cornwall to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth or the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
Since hearing about the plans, I have written to Jackie Pendleton, chief executive of the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (KCCG), and NHS England stressing the need to ensure that patients in West Cornwall are not placed at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the best radiotherapy treatment possible.
I have made it clear to NHS England and NHS managers in Cornwall that I would not support existing services being moved from RCHT. NHS England's response is as follows:
'It is not NHS England’s intention to reduce the number of radiotherapy providers, nor is it considered to be a likely outcome of these proposals. Their aim is to encourage radiotherapy providers to work together in Networks to concentrate expertise and improve pathways for patients requiring radical radiotherapy for the less common and rarer cancers. This may mean that in some areas that some activity is concentrated and redistributed within the Network geography to other providers in order to secure access for patients to the very best specialist treatment and care.'
To this end, I would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation, which has been extended until 24th January.
Click here to get more information or to respond to the consultation.