Improving local access to cancer care

3rd Nov 2015

Dr Roger Stedman, the Trust’s medical director, responding to recent stories in local media, explains the reality of our future plans and discussions.

“Together with Trusts in Dudley and Walsall we are looking to develop shared local cancer services in the Black Country by 2017.  We want more specialist care locally not less.  Regrettably University Hospitals Birmingham have decided to cease providing visiting oncologists to City and Sandwell Hospitals from April 2016.  Given their decision, we are working with partners to ensure that a stable service is maintained on our sites from that point.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals are proud of our cancer services.  Our gynae-oncology service has the lowest mortality in the UK.  Our breast team have won awards for excellence.  We have invested to ensure that we have 7 day a week acute oncology presence on our sites.  In developing our cancer services further we need consistent multi-disciplinary care, rapid access to clinics, and short waits for radiotherapy.  It is the search for this which lies at the heart of the changes that will happen next spring and where we have not been able to secure UHB’s support.

Existing on site SWBH cancer services will remain.  There is a possibility that new patients in 2016 will not be able to have everything that is currently done at the QE there in future.  If that is the case we will look to support any additional travel for patients for super-specialist care.  But our plans explicitly assume that local services remain on site.  We are investing hundreds of thousands of pounds to achieve that aim, indeed we have increased funding by 100% for 2016-17 when compared to 2014-15.”

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