Cancer Networks saved – thanks to Patient Power

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Keep up good work and follow Macmillan’s efforts

Behind the scenes Cameron is not happy with his Health Minister.

According to Dr. Gerada, of the RCGPs, quoted in The Guardian; Cameron is ‘siding’ with Clegg.

However, it can’t be good for the NHS to have a Civil War raging – in front of the public or behind the scenes.  No-one would deny that the NHS needs an overhaul, but sane people would say go ‘softly, softly’.  See what works in one area, before rolling this out across England.

But in the meantime, La La Lansley the over-zealous bull is fighting not only the public, but also his Whitehall colleagues, and the NHS is lurching from one crisis to another.

Good News is  People Power is winning; small victories at first, but signs are they are increasing.

Latest ‘victory’ for common sense has come from Macmillan’s efforts.

Andrea Shufflebotham says, “The Government  threatened to pull funding for all cancer networks. These are networks of cancer clinicians who advise commissioners about cancer services across areas, to try and limit postcode lottery”.

As Andrea says, “when a cancer network works properly this means you don’t get the postcode lottery”.

As someone who was told by her NHS GP “I don’t know anything about cancer”, I can see the practical need for cancer networks.  The mind boggles at GPs trying to commission our cancer services, when they haven’t a clue what they are ordering.

Macmillan was really up in arms about it, because GPs have never commissioned cancer care before, and would be in even more need than previous commissioners.” We’ve been lobbying hard and getting bits of coverage on it and today it was announced in the guardian that they will be kept”.

When they work best

When cancer networks work best they should be invisible to patients. This is because behind the scenes they will be working with hospitals and health professionals to ensure that cancer patients receive

  • the highest possible quality of care
  • well coordinated
  • does not vary from region to region.

Plus they will be working out where services can be further developed to improve patients’ experience.  They are advocates for cancer patients to busy healthcare commissioners for whom cancer is just one of their priorities.

If anything should go wrong in service provision, such as posts being made redundant, a good cancer network will be there to liaise between users, clinicians and commissioners, to make sure high quality services are retained

Cancer networks are extremely important to cancer patients. Without them or a similar mechanism, cancer patients will be left in the lurch. They risk a serious decline in services, leading to a return of the extremes of postcode lottery and in the worst case a significant impact on survival rates.

Cancer patients are already finding that the ‘two week’ wait for tests has been ‘forgotten’;  without the networks these could go back to the bad old days.

Latest gossip from Whitehall says Cameron is by-passing La La Lansley, and consulting with Clegg.  So watch the political bloggs for updates.

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