The Department of Health has announced a consultation on the Medical Innovation Bill, inviting people, particularly doctors, patients and legal professionals, to share their views on whether fear of litigation is preventing the use of pioneering treatments in the NHS. The Bill, taken up by the Government last year, seeks to improve patient safety and encourage innovation in medical practice, helping to clarify the existing law on medical innovation. Stakeholders have until 25 April to provide feedback to the consultation on the Bill. The Department is particularly interested to find out if the draft Bill would help encourage responsible medical innovation, and help prevent irresponsible innovation. The draft Bill can be accessed here.
Monitor has published its report Performance of the NHS foundation trust sector. The report, which can be accessed here, analyses the performance of trusts over nine months ending on 31 December 2013. Of interest to CCG members, on cancer waiting time targets, the report notes that:
- In Q3 of 2013, 18 trusts breached the 85 per cent performance standard for treatment within 62 days after referral from a GP. This compares to just four trusts breaching the same target in Q3 of 2012
- The aggregate foundation trust performance against the treatment within 62 days target was 87.3 per cent. This is the lowest level for this target for two years
- Trusts which have breached the target often cited increased referrals as one of the reasons they had done so. Other reasons mentioned were: complex pathways, late referrals and consultant capacity
- Fewer trusts breached the performance standard for the breast cancer 2 Week Wait in Q3 of 2013. Five trusts breached this target in Q3 of 2013, compared to nine trusts in Q2 of 2013. However, this compares to three breaches in Q3 of 2012
- Two trusts identified inadequate outpatient capacity as the primary cause for missing the 2 Week Wait target, and three trusts attributed most of the breaches to patients cancelling or declining appointments
- Overall performance for the consultant referral within 62 days performance standard has remained high, despite a small increase in the number of foundation trust breaches, to four, in Q3 of 2013
- Aggregate performance against the all cancers two week wait target was better in Q3 of 2013 than the performance in Q3 of 2012, despite their being more breaches in Q3 of 2013
NHS England has announced this week how GP practices can participate in enhanced service for reducing unplanned admissions, which they say has been enabled by the reduction of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Deputy Medical Director of NHS England, Mike Berwick, says that the main purpose of the enhanced service will be to improve services for the most vulnerable patients, with practices asked to:
- Support decisions on hospital transfers or admissions by improving communication between clinicians and GP practices
- Identify adult patients and children with complex needs who could benefit from proactive care management
- Work with hospitals to improve discharge processes and review unplanned admissions
- Develop and regularly review personalised care plans for at risk patients, ensuring they have a named accountable GP and care co-ordinator
This announcement can be seen in full here.
NHS England announced this week that they will delay the introduction of Care.data by six months, to ensure that more people have a better understanding of how the database will work and its stated benefits. Care.data will extract individual medical records from general practice, combining them with existing hospital records. Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information at NHS England, has said that the database is fundamental to the future of the health service and would help to improve cancer survival rates by improving understanding of how to treat people. Ten health charities have written a joint letter to The Telegraph, to say that the information that would be collected would be “overwhelmingly beneficial” as it would mean people with serious diseases would be diagnosed earlier and have a better quality of life. However, the organisations acknowledged that concerns over privacy need to be listened to, and the benefits of the scheme should be clearly communicated. Coverage of the letter to the Telegraph can be read here.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) finds that global cancer deaths are more than 50 per cent higher in men than women
CRUK has today published figures which demonstrate that more than 126 men in every 100,000 die every year around the world from cancer, compared to 82 women per 100,000. This equates to around 4.6 million deaths in men and 3.5 million deaths amongst women. CRUK has published an interactive map which compares statistics from around the world on the variation in incidence, mortality, and the reliability of data for each country and region. More on this story, including the interactive map, can be found on the CRUK website, here.
The European Cancer Concord (ECC), an organisation involving patient advocacy and oncology leaders from 17 European countries, launched a European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, on World Cancer Day. The work has been led by Professor Patrick Johnston of Queen’s University, Belfast. The bill of rights is underpinned by three key principles:
- Article 1: The right of every European citizen to receive accurate information and be involved in their own care
- Article 2: The right of every European citizen to access specialised cancer care underpinned by research and innovation
- Article 3: The right of every European citizen to cost-effective health systems that ensure optimum cancer outcomes
Each Article has a number of associated rights, which can be seen in the full document available here.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) published their World Cancer Report 2014. The report was drafted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARG), the cancer agency of the WHO, and emphasises that effective prevention measures, as opposed to just treatments, are needed urgently to prevent a cancer crisis.
The report found that based on trends in incidence and mortality, the burden of cancer is growing “at an alarming pace”, hence the need for prevention strategies to be emphasised. Key facts outlined in the report are as follows:
- In 2012, the burden of cancer world-wide rose to an estimated 14 million new cases per year
- This figure is expected to be 22 million within the next two decades
- In the next two decades, annual cancer deaths are predicted to rise from 8.2 million to 13 million
- The most common cancers diagnosed globally in 2012 were lung (1.8 million, 13 per cent); breast (1.7 million, 11.9 per cent); large bowel (1.4 million, 9.7 per cent)
- The most common cause of cancer deaths globally in 2012 were lung (1.6 million, 19.4 per cent); liver (0.8 million, 9.1 per cent); stomach (0.7 million, 8.8 per cent)
- More than 60 per cent of total word cancer cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, with these regions making up 70 per cent of the world’s cancer deaths
The full report can be accessed here (£).
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published proposals for the public consultation on value based assessment. The public consultation is set to last three months, and will open in February 2014. The amended sections of the guide will then be reviewed following feedback received in the consultation period, and NICE will hold workshops to “facilitate informed comments on the consultation proposals”. The CCG Steering Group has indicated that the CCG will respond to the consultation, and a draft will be sent out to members for comment
NHS England consultation on a five year plan and strategy for the commissioning of specialised services
NHS England has announced a consultation calling for proposals to be submitted to form its development of a five year plan and strategy for the commissioning of specialised services. The deadline for proposals is Friday 28 February 2014.
It is worth noting that NHS England explicitly states that “In view of the financial challenges facing specialised services in the first year of this strategy, we seek primarily proposals that will provide significant patient and public value and reduce cost.” Further details of the consultation can be found here.
Results from Public Health England’s “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign on lung cancer has revealed that around 700 extra patients were diagnosed with lung cancer, and 300 patients received surgery, after presenting with lung cancer symptoms at their local GPs. The campaign ran throughout England from May-June 2012. The campaign, supported by Cancer Research UK, NHS England and the Department of Health also resulted in 400 more patients being diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier stage and a smaller proportion of patients being diagnosed at a late stage.
Commenting on the results, the National Clinical Director for Cancer, Sean Duffy, stated: "Until recently a lung cancer patient in Sweden was nearly 70 per cent more likely to survive their disease for at least five years than if they lived in England. So I am therefore delighted that this new set of figures shows that the Be Clear on Cancer campaign has helped speed up our progress in lung cancer survival with hundreds of patients receiving potential life saving surgery as a result of this campaign." More information is available here.