Four in five (82%) GPs believe that GP commissioners will need specialist support if they are to commission cancer services effectively, according to new research from the Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG) - a coalition of over 40 cancer charities.
These findings suggest that the quality of care cancer patients get could be adversely affected by the Government’s health reforms if GPs cannot access the commissioning support they need.
The CCG believes cancer networks are ideally placed to provide this support. The cancer community is calling for continued funding for cancer networks until GP consortia are fully up and running, with a commitment from the NHS Commissioning Board to retain their expertise for the longer-term.
Cancer Campaigning Group Steering Group member, Mia Rosenblatt said:
“The overwhelming majority of GPs say they will need support to commission cancer services effectively. It is essential that the NHS Commissioning Board finds a way to retain the expertise in cancer networks so that consortia have access to the advice and guidance they require.
“The GPs surveyed also believed many key cancer treatments should be commissioned regionally or nationally rather than at a local level. The Government must ensure that cancer patients receive the best quality care, regardless of who is commissioning the service.
“It is critical that during this period, when the Government is listening to what people want from a reformed NHS, the Prime Minister and Health Secretary examine these insights from GPs and work with the cancer community to ensure cancer services continue to improve and deliver better outcomes and experiences for patients.”
The CCG commissioned ComRes to carry out a survey into GP attitudes to the commissioning of cancer services during February 2011. ComRes interviewed 817 GPs in England online between 14th and 28th February 2011. The data are a representative sample of all GPs in England. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.