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Report warns cancer care could get worse under planned reforms

19 July, 2012
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A leading health think-tank has expressed concern at the government’s shake-up in the provision of cancer care and warns that patients risk being “passed from pillar to post.”

After conducting extensive research and interviews with health professionals, 2020Health says Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s proposals do not go far enough in improving cancer treatment for patients, and may even jeopardise progress made over the past decade by cancer networks.

The report, titled ‘Cancer Commissioning: Making the reforms work for patients’ voices concern that the government’s proposals ignore feedback from health experts, who call for greater patient involvement in the design and management of their care.

Gail Beer, Consultant Director of 2020Health, says: “It’s only fair for patients to play a more active role in shaping the direction of their health care. After all, the NHS is funded directly by the taxpayers who use it.”

Mrs Beer also criticises the mindset of the providers of cancer care: “Worryingly, the proposals do not change that the commissioning of cancer services is still based on targets and not outcomes.

“What is right for one patient may be wholly inappropriate for another. The NHS needs to finally shake off its ‘one size fits all’ approach to healthcare.”

Despite spending £5.8bn on cancer care in 2010, the NHS offers poor cancer survival rates compared to Europe, Canada, Australia and many Scandinavian countries.

The report can be found here.

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