Clinical networks in the NHS are a success story having been responsible for some significant improvements.
Cancer Networks have:
The remit of the former Thames Valley Cancer Network involved working across the whole pathway which led to improved outcomes for patients.
These outcomes have included:
The new Thames Valley Cancer Strategic Clinical Network will build on these successes, strengths and partnerships proactively to engage patients, families, and communities, including populations who may be disadvantaged, in planning and implementing new approaches to service delivery that are meaningful and more accessible.
We are working in collaboration with academic partners to create new knowledge and translate it into measurable improvements in health and cancer care for the population. It is important that the relationships, clinical engagement and patient participation that have been developed and maintained over many years are sustained and enhanced.
This approach will ensure that Commissioners have access to a broad range of clinical input to support and inform their decisions about the way care for our local populations is planned and delivered.
The Five Year Forward View is a bold vision of the future of health services. The planning guidance for CCGs and other partners released at the end of December makes useful suggestions as to how this can be achieved; through supporting new models of care, embracing innovative ways of working and establishing improvement through clinical evidence.
“The 5YFV is ambitious and bold in its scope and timescales and offers both challenges and opportunities for the NHS to deliver cancer outcomes to match the best in the world!”
The report addresses many broad issues currently facing the NHS including prevention, rising demand, an ageing population and funding constraints. The focus on cancer care calls for improvements in “faster diagnosis and more uniform treatment for cancer” over the next five years, recognising that there are “unacceptable variations in care” across the country.
There is also emphasis on research and innovation; embracing research and accelerating adoption of innovations offers a real opportunity to improve treatments for our patients quicker than the current timescale, which on average takes approximately 12 years!
A major early-diagnosis programme will test seven new approaches to identifying cancer more quickly, including: offering patients the option to self-refer for diagnostic tests; lowering referral thresholds for GPs; and establishing multi-disciplinary diagnostic centres where patients can have several tests in the same place on the same day. More than 60 sites around the country will pilot these initiatives with the aim that those that prove successful could be implemented more widely from 2016/17.
The approach and spirit of the FYFV encourages us to be brave enough to try new and sometimes radically different approaches to delivering high quality health care, whilst accepting that not all approaches tested will prove to be successful. It offers us a real opportunity to look critically at different ways of working in order to transform for the better the way the NHS delivers services to patients.”