A new report from NHS England, Spotlight on specialised services, provides an insight into the specialised services that are currently delivered and the services to be rolled out over the coming years. The following are of relevance to cancer:
- Upgrading radiotherapy equipment – £130 million had been committed to ‘the biggest upgrade in NHS cancer treatment in at least 15 years’. It is noted this will transform cancer care for hundreds of thousands of patients across England. Over the next two years around 100 older Linac machines used by hospitals will be upgraded or replaced, so that patients can access the latest leading-edge technology regardless of where they live. The newer machines are faster and therefore allow more patients to be treated.
- Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) – The updated CDF now provides patients with faster access to new cancer treatments, helps to ensure more value for money for taxpayers, and offers pharmaceutical companies a new fast-track route to NHS funding.
- Standardising chemotherapy drug dosing – Chemotherapy is the ‘biggest service area within our Specialised Commissioning portfolio, costing in excess of £1.5 billion’. Through the introduction of a standard approach to ‘dose banding’, patient experience and value has been improved by reducing drug wastage, enabling bulk purchase and manufacture, freeing pharmacist time, and allowing more chemotherapy to be available in ready-to-use forms so hospitals can hold stock of these doses, reducing waiting times for treatment, and reducing costs.