Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Government committee calls for better cancer services in England

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:213

Rapid Response:

Cancer services in England

The recent Public Accounts Committee report on cancer services is a
rather dry but important document. Your news item presented a graph
showing the Eurocare 3 survival data. I hate defending our wonderful NHS
but this is a little unfair. £2.0 billion extra has been spent on cancer
services through the Cancer Plan. Although I agree that much of this has
been wasted in a fog of bureaucracy, it has undoubtedly improved our
ability to treat cancer effectively.

The Plan was instigated in 2000 and realistically we will not see
much benefit until this year. It will take at least another 3 years to see
survival benefits in the Eurocare analysis. Our National Cancer Director,
Professor Michael Richards has done a great job trying to sort things out.
But as an upcoming report from the independent think-tank Reform
concludes, we need to restructure healthcare delivery to increase
efficiency and put patients in the driving seat. This requires far more
than propaganda and political rhetoric.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 February 2005
Karol Sikora
Professor of Cancer Medicine
Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN