NHS England is inviting comments on a new sarcoma service specification (a document setting out how NHS sarcoma services should be set up and delivered in England). The service specification aims to address the considerable differences between national sarcoma services, focusing on why many sarcoma patients are not being referred to sarcoma specialist services.
This new service specification is underpinned by a single principle that all patients with a sarcoma should be referred to a sarcoma specialist service, ensuring equal standards for all.
The drafting of the new sarcoma service specification has been undertaken by the NHS England Sarcoma Clinical Reference Group (CRG). The group is chaired by Professor Jeremy Whelan (London Sarcoma Service, UCLH) and brings together our Chief Executive, Lindsey Bennister, clinicians and patients. Using their specific knowledge and expertise, the group advises NHS England on the best way to provide sarcoma specialist services. CRGs have been responsible for driving improvements in the quality, fairness, experience, efficiency and outcomes of specialised services.
Show your support by filling out NHS England’s online consultation. The deadline is 20 April 2016.
Sarcoma UK’s position:
We support the new service specification as a way of achieving improvements in outcomes for sarcoma patients. Sarcoma patients report some of the poorest experiences of any cancer type, significantly lower than the experiences of people diagnosed with the most common cancers (National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2014). We believe the proposed service specification will help bring about improved access to specialised sarcoma services for patients throughout England, resulting in earlier diagnosis and improved patient experience, and ultimately improved survival.
3,800 people are diagnosed with sarcoma each year in the UK and a third are not referred appropriately to sarcoma specialised services. A significant number of sarcoma patients visit their GP three or more times before being referred for investigations.
We support the proposed model for service delivery in this new service specification as a means to address the inequalities currently experienced by sarcoma patients.