Editorials

A policy framework for commissioning cancer services

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6992.1425 (Published 03 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1425
  1. Michael Whitehouse
  1. Professor of medical oncology Wessex Medical Oncology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton S016 6YD

    Unlikely to be fundable within available resources

    Hippocrates cannot have been overconfident about the provision of care for patients with cancer. In one of his aphorisms he pointed out that patients with internal cancers who were treated survived a shorter time than those who were left alone. Some 25 centuries later informed voices have decried Britain's cancer services, some likening progress through them to the vagaries of the lottery. While this analogy is overly pessimistic, the failure of health planners to respond to the improved understanding and treatment of cancers has more than justified much of the recent criticism.

    Many doctors also remain ignorant of what is achievable with good cancer care, which is hardly surprising, given the low …

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