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Cancer services won't move out of Cornwall

Cancer services won't move out of Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 8:02am 5th April 2019. (Updated at 8:07am 5th April 2019)

Crucial cancer treatments that were in danger of being moved out of Cornwall will remain, after a huge response to an NHS consultation.

Over 11,500 people responded to the NHS England's national consultation on proposals which would have seen radiotherapy for less common cancers moved out of the Duchy.

That would have meant patients travelling hundreds of miles for treatement, to Plymouth, Exeter or even as far as Bristol!

The majority (90%) of responses came from Cornwall and the south-west, helping to secure the future of the Sunrise Centre at Treliske.

NHS England have now significantly changed their plans and the future of all radiotherapy services at the Sunrise Centre are secured.

sunrise centre treliske
Some cancer services, in danger of being moved out of Cornwall, will remain, thanks to a huge response to an NHS consultation

"The threat to move services for less common cancers to Plymouth, Exeter or Bristol caused outrage last year, and led to possibly the biggest NHS consultation response ever in the UK.

"Together, the people of Cornwall have made a real difference and we're incredibly proud to say that as a direct result of the campaign, NHS England has confirmed that all patients will continue to receive radiotherapy at the Sunrise Centre in Truro".

Janet Shephard, Former Head of Radiotherapy and Trustee of The Sunrise Appeal.

Trustees of the Sunrise Appeal have received confirmation from consultants at the centre that patients from Cornwall and the IOS will not be moved out of county for treatment, thanks to the response to the campaign.

"Consultants at the Sunrise Centre had said the proposals would directly affect 200 or more patients a year from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

"We simply had to take action to ensure patients could continue to be treated in Cornwall by superb staff, on world class equipment, using advanced techniques.

"The support we received was astonishing and as a result NHS England has made substantial changes to their proposals".

Janet Shephard

What does the NHS report say?

"A total of 11,542 online responses to the consultation were received, as well as 675 responses submitted in other formats.

"The majority (90%) of the online survey responses were from the South West.

"As a result of the concerns expressed that many more people would need to travel further for radiotherapy treatment, NHS England has made a number of significant changes to the proposals.

"The changes place emphasis on securing improvements through greater collaboration and care protocol standardisation between centres and clinical teams.

"Taken together, these changes mean that:

  • People requiring radical radiotherapy for the treatment of a less common cancer can continue to be treated locally;
  • Clinical teams will be able to maintain their involvement in a broad range of subspecialist cancer treatments, therefore maintaining skillset and expertise;
  • Local clinical teams within the Network will be empowered to improve services. "

"The proposals no longer require the centralisation of radical radiotherapy treatments for the less common cancers.

"It is acknowledged that, in some areas, Networks may need to invest in IT infrastructure to reap all the benefits of greater partnership working. NHS England is committed to supporting Networks achieve this.

"The proposed working arrangements of the subspecialist teams and the opportunities for partnership working between centres have been substantially clarified and amended so that the current radiotherapy pathways will be unchanged as a result of implementing the Service Specifications.

"This means that the way patients access radiotherapy care and treatment will be unchanged (e.g. travel)".

NHS England

You can read the full consultation response here.

Dr John McGrane, Consultant at the Sunrise Centre, said: "The updated NHS England proposals mean that patients will continue to be treated here in Cornwall.

"We are grateful to the people who responded to the consultation in their thousands saying that they want to continue to have high quality radiotherapy treatment locally".

Janet Shephard added: "We are all delighted and very proud of what our campaign achieved - the people of Cornwall made their voices heard!

"We remain committed to raising funds to ensure that the Sunrise Centre maintains a gold standard status into the future".

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