The Department has commissioned a research project to consider the costs and benefits of current services for bowel cancer, including laparoscopic surgery, and to identify areas where improvements might be achievable. This research is being conducted by York health economics consortium and the School of Health and Related Research at Sheffield University and is due to report in the autumn.
In addition, on 24 March, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published provisional new advice on the use of laparoscopic colorectal surgery. It recommends laparoscopic (including laparoscopically assisted) resection as an alternative to open resection for patients with colorectal cancer who are considered suitable for surgery. NICE’s final advice on this technique is due to be published in September 2006.
Departmental officials have also carried out a review of existing evidence on the costs and benefits of laparoscopic surgery in the treatment of colorectal cancer and considered whether there is a need for further research in this area. It was concluded that, given the York/Sheffield project and the work being carried out by NICE, no further work was required at this time. This decision was endorsed by the bowel cancer advisory group chaired by the national cancer director.
The total number of laparoscopic surgery procedures for colorectal cancer carried out each year since 2003-04 is shown in the table. These figures do not represent the total number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.
Number 2003-04 38,840 2004-05 39,889