New National Cancer Director outlines future vision at London conference

“We want to have the best cancer care. Anywhere.”

Those were the words of new National Cancer Director Cally Palmer CBE as she addressed attendees to the Britain Against Cancer conference hosted yesterday in London by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC).

The annual event, which featured a keynote speech by Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt and was also attended by NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Cancer Professor Sean Duffy, is one of is one of the largest conferences of its kind in the UK.

Miss Palmer, who is Chief Executive of the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and joined NHS England as National Cancer Director in November, praised the vision set out by the Independent Cancer Taskforce and outlined some of the ways she will lead implementation of the recommendations of its report.

Miss Palmer said: “Back in September NHS England announced a new ‘Cancer Vanguard’: three sites which will come together to trial new ideas and approaches to the commissioning and provision of cancer services, including testing capitated budgets from April 2017.  We expect this to begin to teach us about what works and what doesn’t almost immediately.”

“In response to the recommendation by the Taskforce report, we’re also establishing Cancer Alliances across the country from April next year, which will be the cornerstone of delivering changes at a local level.”

Miss Palmer announced a new Cancer Transformation Board to lead the rollout of the other recommendations of the Taskforce report, and a Cancer Advisory Group, chaired by Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, to oversee and scrutinise their work.

Miss Palmer also presented the first prototype of a new Cancer Dashboard to measure progress with a focus on incidence, survival rates, patient experience and quality of life for patients.

“From April 2016 every CCG will be able to see their own data in this format and will be able to benchmark themselves against other CCGs.

“This was the first of the 96 recommendations that the Taskforce gave us, and we have made it a priority. We all need to be clear what we’re working towards, and a unified set of measures is fundamental to this.”

One comment

  1. DAVID REID says:

    As a ‘survivor’ of both prostate and colonic cancers (thanks to NHS – v.grateful) and having had radio-therapy, surgery and chemo-therapy I am very aware that early detection/diagnosis and treatment are a very important part of the successful survivor pathway. I ‘kind of’ self diagnosed and my Colonic was at C3 Dukes when removed so am doubly grateful for ability of surgeon and chemo-mix specialist. My question for Cally is for my daughter’s care.
    Amanda has a brain tumour, she had two,initially, and it is a rare cancer in a rare grouping hence she must go to London for treatment/observation at present. My worry is this – as Cally said at the Board meeting there is a grey area between symptom control and ‘end-of-life’ palliative care – so how does a patient ensure that a possible newer method of treatment might not give a chance of complete remission and whose ‘job’ is it to ensure that she is following a health promoting life-style of activity…GP, long-distance nursing, MacMillan, or ensuring she does not start-up anything that may reactivate a currently docile tumour?
    Sorry to pour out the worries of an elderly father.
    Yours sincerely,
    David Reid.