Response to NHS England Consultation on Closing Treatment Centres
Posted on 29th January 2015 by William O'Brien in Lobbying
Brain Tumour Research has responded to NHS England’s consultation on the Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services review, stressing that any decision made needs to promote the welfare of patients and increase access to the best available treatments.
In November NHS England opened the consultation for responses to plans to close 19 of the 25 centres that offered specialised treatments for brain tumour patients. The treatments currently available in these centres are the gold standard stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy services, which use exact beams of radiation to kill both cancerous and non-cancerous tumours in the head and thus removing the need for surgery in many cases.
The treatment is currently available in 25 centres across the country, ranging from the Freeman Hospital in the North East to University Hospitals Bristol in the South West, but patients receiving these treatments could now face unprecedented traveling to attend appointments for life saving treatments. The rationale behind the proposed changes is the need to improve the efficiency of a service and seems to have forgotten about the thousands of new people diagnosed every year with a brain tumour in the reorganisation of care.
The plans included provisions to provide treatment 7 days a week, a move that would be extremely welcome. It would increase the numbers of patients able to receive treatment and add allow more flexibility and choice for patients. Despite this, we have compelled NHS England to reconsider their proposals and ensure that the treatment that patients need is available to all at a reasonable distance of travel. The disease and the treatment often have debilitating effects on the patients and place families and friends caring for patients under extreme stress. Travelling to and from treatment is a considerable but necessary burden and should not be made any more difficult for patients than it already is. There is a significant coalition of patients, clinicians and Parliamentarians who have raised their concerns and we hope that NHS England take on board these views and rethink proposals that will not in any way benefit patients.