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Cancer care commissioning is in chaos since NHS reorganisation, says leading charity

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 08 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5540
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The government’s reorganisation of the NHS in England has caused chaos in the commissioning of cancer care services, which now needs radical change to be made fit for purpose, says a report from Cancer Research UK.

The charity said that confused structures, unclear accountability, and loss of national oversight, combined with insufficient funding, threatened to reverse hard won gains in survival rates among people with cancer.

Harpal Kumar, the charity’s chief executive, said that cancer services were now at a “tipping point,” with staff fighting to keep them viable in a context of flatlined budgets and rising demand from patients. “They can’t go on like this with no help or support coming over the horizon,” he said. “And they certainly can’t improve services so that our cancer outcomes are up there with the best in the world.”

The report, published on 8 September, looked at the current state of cancer services, 18 months since NHS reorganisation came into force under the Health and Social Care Act.1 The charity commissioned Birmingham University’s Health Services Management Centre to conduct interviews and surveys among clinicians, commissioners, GPs, experts in public health, and patients.

Cancer care networks lost

The …

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