Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Childhood cancer and proton beam therapy

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 16 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5654

Rapid Response:

I read with interest the paper by Glaser et al. It highlights some very important issues regarding the access to proton beam therapy.

Indeed similar issues of access to specialised and novel paediatric service have affected almost every paediatric speciality. Perhaps one of the more publicly covered topics is access to paediatric cardiac surgery.

With debate ongoing about which centres should perform cardiac surgical procedures on children it is a highly topical issue. One of the excellent steps taken by policy makers is to engage all stakeholders on a wide scale in this regard, using a simple online survey form.

Perhaps in addition to the current system of centralised healthcare decision-making the same easy-access canvas of opinion approach should be adopted for all new major, novel, specialised but resource-heavy paediatric treatments.

Whilst it would have significant organisational and resourcing challenges it would be an excellent way of the healthcare system's communication complementing that of the staff it employs.

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 November 2014
Philip J McElnay
ACF Cardiothoracic Surgery
Newcastle University
Freeman Hospital, Freeman Road, Newcastle