Specialised commissioning publication briefing note: Systemic anti-cancer therapy treatment breaks

Continuation of funding for systemic anti-cancer therapy following a break in treatment

Publication type

Generic policy.


Publication of final version.

Title and ref no

PRN00561 – Systemic anti-cancer therapy treatment breaks: Continuation of funding for systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) following a break in treatment.

Brief summary

The policy is a revision of the NHS England guidance on SACT treatment breaks which was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy will replace the process described in COVID-19 rapid guideline: delivery of systemic anti-cancer treatments, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline [NG161].

This is a generic commissioning policy, so does not require prioritisation.

Financial impact

There are no costs associated with the implementation of the policy.


The policy has been reviewed and approved by specialised commissioning senior management team (SMT).

National director approved?

John Stewart, Cally Palmer and Peter Johnson.

Media/stakeholder reaction

There may be some public and media interest in the policy because there is uncertainty about the exit from the pandemic arrangements – this is why the policy was developed.

During the development, we worked with Bowel Cancer UK to develop the frequently asked questions which will support the policy.

It is recommended that the comms plan includes co-ordination with Bowel Cancer UK to amplify the key messages, which will be positively received and reduce any unfounded uncertainty and anxiety.

Comms handling plan

Patient groups will welcome this publication, who have been asking for clarity on treatment break policy since the covid measures ended.

We have received several enquiries from groups keen to see this available asap.