Five minutes with . . . Emma Greenwood

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 11 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5491
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Cancer Research UK’s head of policy discusses new Ofsted-style ratings showing that most of England’s clinical commissioning groups are failing to meet national standards for diagnosing and treating cancer1

“This is the first time that CCGs have received something packaged together in this way, so it is helpful in terms of focusing their thinking on what needs to happen in cancer, especially since the publication last summer of the new cancer strategy.2 None of this is new data; it’s just a new way of packaging it together.

“The metrics that make up the rating are quite broad and cover a range of things. Once CCGs look at the specifics, it does give them a bit of a signal of where they might want to focus their efforts.

“We think that it definitely needs to be seen in the wider context of what other data are available. There is now something called the Cancer Dashboard (, which has many more metrics and gives CCG areas a much broader sense of what’s going on across the patient pathway in their cancer services.

“For us to think that this is working well is to be able to see that CCGs and providers within a system are able to use these data to really help identify and then actually drive improvement.

“The establishment of cancer alliances in the next few months definitely has to be part of helping areas to improve. These were suggested in the cancer strategy as a mechanism for areas to have all the key players come together (CCGs, local authorities, clinicians, and patients) to think about cancer services and for better coordination across the whole pathway, from prevention through to end of life care.

“But we also need to make sure that when we do identify areas of the country that perhaps are struggling, because they don’t have enough capacity (diagnostic capacity, for example), that the government and NHS are putting in place sufficient resource to improve that capacity. So if we need more radiologists, we need a really strong solution for fixing that. That’s not just about local areas just diverting resources from one thing to another: it might mean that we actually need more in the system, full stop.”


  • News Most CCGs in England are failing to meet standards on cancer care doi:10.1136/bmj.i5422


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