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Cancer Services

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation has been undertaken with (a) the public, (b) patients and (c) clinicians by the Kingston Hospital NHS Trust concerning its proposal to switch secondary and tertiary cancer services from the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust to The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. (90044)

This is a matter for the local national health services.

However, officials inform me that Kingston Hospital NHS Trust has not formally consulted on its proposal to switch secondary and tertiary cancer services from the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust to the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Representatives from partner organisations involved in the transfer of services have met with Kingston Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel (OSC) to assess whether the proposal merits formal public consultation. The outcome from this meeting was that all the proposals were positive and that formal consultation was not required.

However, the OSC recommended that the trust offers an open public meeting to enable any interested parties to learn about the proposed change. This will be held on 9 October 2006 at Kingston hospital.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on patient care of proposals of the Kingston Hospital NHS Trust to switch secondary and tertiary cancers services from the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust to the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. (92302)

This is a matter for the local national health service.

It is our policy that the local NHS decide the priorities for the NHS locally, including decisions on the location of services. This is where the specific local knowledge and expertise lies and it is not appropriate for the Department to intervene.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department made of patient numbers and activity for the purposes of (a) approving and (b) funding the purchase and installation of four new linear accelerators at the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. (92303)

One aim of the Cancer Equipment Programme was to replace ageing equipment used in cancer services on the grounds that newer equipment is more accurate and reliable. The four linear accelerators at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust have been provided to replace the four machines that were beyond the recommended age limit of 11 years.

The potential withdrawal of cancer patients from Hammersmith to Kingston and the Royal Marsden will mean a reduction equivalent to a 20 per cent. drop in patient numbers.

The commitment in the NHS Cancer Plan is to provide a target of four linear accelerators per million by 2006. Current radiotherapy centre provision varies between 3.3 to 7.9 per million head of population. The Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust radiotherapy centres currently has six per million head.