NHS England review of cancer services at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Teams of cancer specialists and other senior clinicians have begun reviews of services for every type of cancer at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

The review teams, which are independent of the Trust, are being co-ordinated by an NHS England-led Incident Management Team. They are examining all 14 cancer pathways at the Trust.

The Incident Management Team (IMT) has been established by NHS England to co-ordinate the response to the failings identified by the Care Quality Commission in early November and involves all key organisations including Monitor, CQC, Essex Police, the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEECCG) and Colchester Hospital Trust.  Essex County Council and Healthwatch Essex are also members of the group.

The Incident Management Team will remain in place until all aspects of the incident are resolved and on-going action plans agreed. The IMT is committed to publishing all key findings and relevant reports and its Terms of Reference are also published today.

The review of cancer services follows publication of the Care Quality Commission report that found a number of cancer patients may have suffered undue delays in treatment and there were inaccuracies with waiting time data relating to cancer treatment. Last week, the regulator Monitor, put Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust into Special Measures. Monitor is also leading a review into the governance arrangements within the Trust .The findings of all reviews will be acted upon. Essex Police continues with its own investigation.

Andrew Pike, chair of the Incident Management Team and Director of NHS England Essex Area Team, said:

“It’s the first duty of everyone who works in the NHS to ensure that we provide safe services to patients. NHS England, working with its partners in the Incident Management Team, is determined to do everything it can to help rebuild public confidence in cancer services at Colchester Hospital Trust. Patients need to know that cancer services are safe today, will be safe tomorrow and if they weren’t safe in the past, that everything is being done to rapidly put things right and provide on-going support.”

Review of current cancer services at Colchester Hospital Trust

The IMT review of current cancer pathways began on 15 November and will ensure that current services are safe and operating to national standards of cancer waiting times and quality.

  • Each cancer pathway is being examined by a dedicated team made up of senior clinicians including a cancer specialist, General Practitioner, senior nurse, cancer managers and other support staff
  • The teams will look at the clinical quality of services, waiting time information , treatment outcomes and the overall organisation of each cancer specialty
  • If a pathway review team has concerns it will identify immediate remedial action to make the services safe and indicate if further reform or improvements to services are required.
  • The current pathway review will be completed by Wednesday 27 November with a final report completed and published by NHS England by mid-December.

The first priority has been to assure the public and patients of the safety of current cancer services.
The Incident Management Team is continuing to take advice from expert clinicians and statisticians to determine whether a further review is required, in addition to the checks on the current 14 cancer pathways. This is a complicated task and there will be an update about this process next week.

Colchester Hospital Trust has a special helpline available for cancer patients (past and present), their relatives and members of the public who have any concerns as a result of the CQC report and the current reviews. The number is:

0800 028 2026.

It is staffed 8am-8pm, seven days a week.