Statement from Sarcoma UK
Sarcoma UK is extremely disappointed that NHS England has announced it will push ahead with its plans to cut the sarcoma clinical reference group. This is despite concerns expressed by Sarcoma UK, sarcoma patients and sarcoma expert health professionals in a recent consultation.
Sarcoma is now included in a new general cancer surgery clinical reference group. NHS England’s response to the concerns of the sarcoma community has been to allocate one place to a sarcoma surgical representative. Sarcoma UK welcomes this move, however the charity believes that the new structure still represents a significant reduction in the level of specialist sarcoma knowledge within NHS England.
The charity and its stakeholders are convinced that this decision will have a detrimental impact on sarcoma patients. People diagnosed with sarcoma already have some of the poorest experiences of any cancer patients in the NHS.
Lindsey Bennister, Sarcoma UK Chief Executive said, “The decision to push ahead with the cuts to the sarcoma clinical reference group is a real blow to sarcoma patients and a backwards step in improving sarcoma patient care and experience.
There has been a lack of transparency from start to finish with this consultation. The decision by NHS England to advertise for posts on the newly configured clinical reference groups four days before publishing the outcome of its consultation is highly questionable. I now urge NHS England to clarify how the sub-groups and working groups discussed in the consultation report will work to the benefit of sarcoma patients.
I would like to thank the sarcoma patients and health professionals who responded to the NHS England consultation. It is clear that there is a strong and united feeling amongst the sarcoma community about the importance of a specialist focus on sarcoma within NHS England. I am very disappointed that NHS England has not adequately addressed our concerns.”