The NHS Five Year Forward View was launched in October 2014 and sets out a series of practical and realistic steps for the NHS to deliver a better, more joined-up and more responsive NHS in England. Last week, NHS England launched the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View. The document states that increased numbers of cancer referrals have placed a strain on NHS services, but better prevention, earlier diagnosis and innovative new treatments provide a realistic opportunity to improve cancer survival rates. As a result of commitments outlined in the document, NHS England expects at least an extra 5,000 people to survive their cancer over the next two years.
Of particular note for cancer patients are plans to introduce a new target of providing patients with a definitive diagnosis within 28 days of referral by 2020, and the rolling-out of a radiotherapy upgrade programme (the largest in 15 years) by October 2018 (although this is subject to HM Treasury approval).
In summary, the following lists the actions/commitments made for cancer services as mentioned in the document:
- A new bowel cancer screening test will be rolled out from April 2018. This new test is expected to find 20% more cancers than the old screening test
- Primary HPV testing for cervical screening will be rolled out from April 2019
- A new target of providing patients with a definitive diagnosis within 28 days of referral by 2020
- Ten new multi-disciplinary Rapid Diagnostic and Assessment Centres across England and rollout Centres in each of the 16 cancer alliances by March 2019
- Access to the latest molecular diagnostics capability will be expanded across England, with hi-tech test volumes increasing from around 55,000 to around 70,000 a year
Access to modern treatment
- Implementation of the largest radiotherapy upgrade programme in 15 years by October 2018 – over 50 new radiotherapy machines in at least 34 hospitals over the next 18 months
- £130 million for a national radiotherapy modernisation fund – £36 million has been spent to date and a further £94 million planned to be spent over the next 18 months
- Health Education England will have trained 160 non-medical endoscopists by 2018 and created 35 more places for ST1 clinical radiology training
- Performance goals will be provided for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and cancer providers using the cancer dashboard, with CCG ratings to be published in July
- Three cancer vanguards will create population cancer budgets, with the aim of integrating commissioning of cancer surgery, radiotherapy and cancer drugs for 9.6 million people
Read more about the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View here