The Independent Cancer Taskforce published Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2020 yesterday (19 July).
This report sets out recommendations for a new cancer strategy for England.
CLIC Sargent, the UK's leading charity supporting children and young people with cancer, has welcomed the strong focus on young cancer patients within the report.
The strategy acknowledges that a disproportionate number of children and young people are diagnosed with cancer at A&E.
It goes on to make specific recommendations which will help the NHS to better understand why cancer is diagnosed in A&E settings, rather than by a GP.
Responding to the strategy, Lorraine Clifton, CLIC Sargent’s Chief Executive, said: “Shockingly, over half of children are diagnosed with cancer in emergency settings, compared to around a quarter of older adults.
We warmly welcome calls within the strategy to better understand why rates of emergency diagnosis are so high
“We warmly welcome calls within the strategy to better understand why rates of emergency diagnosis are so high for children and young people, by putting in place initiatives to record and analyse every diagnosis of cancer that takes place in A&E.
“The report also calls for access to a clinical nurse specialist or key worker for all cancer patients, and suggests trials of cancer specialist nurse involvement within larger GP practices, which could help support the diagnosis of cancer in children and young people.
“Through our Better care for young cancer patients campaign, CLIC Sargent is raising awareness of the high rates of emergency diagnosis for young cancer patients, and focusing on ensuring that the health system is properly equipped to identify cancer in children and young people at the earliest possible stage.
“This new strategy gives us the opportunity to work with other charities, government and the NHS to take these recommendations forward.”
In a move which has been particularly welcomed by CLIC Sargent, the Taskforce also recommends that the NHS in England should begin to collect data on patient experience for under 16s.
Lorraine Clifton comments: “It is our longstanding view that services cannot be improved for young cancer patients if their voices are not listened to and understood.”
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