Cancer and heart disease networks face cuts, say charities

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 08 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6800
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Plans by the NHS Commissioning Board to reorganise clinical networks in England have raised concerns of a loss of expertise and momentum.

The board announced in July that it intended to increase the range of conditions covered by adding two new networks—maternity and children’s health; and mental health, dementia, and neurological conditions—to the existing cancer and cardiovascular disease networks. But specialists have said that the new system will spread resources more thinly and that advances made in care of cancer and stroke patients may be put at risk.

At present there are 56 networks divided equally between cancer and heart disease and stroke. Their job is to improve the delivery of services and reduce variation in a particular geographical area. Under the new system, which comes into force next April, the numbers of networks will be reduced to 12 …

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