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Cancer: East of England

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance his Department has issued to the East of England Strategic Health Authority on the provision of oncological services in the region in the last three years; (205397)

(2) what provisions there are in the private finance initiative agreement between his Department and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the number of (a) oncological procedures and (b) head and neck cancer procedures to be carried out at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

It is for local primary care trusts (PCTs) in conjunction with their strategic health authorities (SHAs) and other stakeholders to plan and commission services for their local populations, including oncological services. The Department has not issued any guidance to the East of England SHA on the provision of oncological services in the region.

Since May 2005, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued Improving Outcomes Guidance (IOG) to the national health service on four cancer tumour sites—Children and Young People with Cancer (August 2005), Skin Tumours including melanoma (February 2006), Sarcoma (March 2006) and Brain (June 2006). The IOG series sets out recommendations on how services for patients with cancers should be organised in order to ensure the best outcomes. Implementation of NICE guidance is a developmental standard and the Healthcare Commission is responsible for assessing progress of healthcare organisations towards achieving developmental standards.

Private finance initiative contracts are held locally between NHS trusts and the contractors, and contain no clauses for the provision of clinical services.