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Paediatric Cancer Strategy for London

Volume 738: debated on Tuesday 17 October 2023

11. What recent progress NHS England has made on implementing its paediatric cancer strategy for London. (906554)

Following Professor Sir Mike Richards’s review, it is now a national requirement for all paediatric cancer services to be co-located with a children’s intensive care unit. The current principal treatment centre for south London and the south-east does not meet those requirements. NHS England has launched a reconfiguration process to identify a new location, which includes a public consultation. The future centre will achieve world class outcomes for children with cancer. I would be very happy to meet Members whose constituents may be affected to discuss that further.

I am grateful to the Minister for that offer, because that would have been part of my question.

But in true style, Mr Speaker, I was hoping for two bites at the cherry. [Laughter.]

In my recent discussions with the management of St George’s Hospital, one concern about the consultation is that the specialist paediatric cancer surgical unit based at St George’s may be lost if the current proposal goes through. That would potentially affect real outcomes for a number of children. Will the Minister have a look at that and explain to me whether he is concerned about the current scoring by the NHS?

I thank my hon. Friend for his supplementary question. While I cannot pre-empt the outcome of the consultation, which closes on 18 December, I can assure him that there will be no sudden changes in the way patients receive their care. Any move will of course be carefully planned with the full involvement of current teams, and clear information will be provided for parents and families. NHS England will help as many experienced staff as possible to move to the future centre, and I can reassure my hon. Friend that that centre will build on all the strengths of the existing service and provide the best quality of care for patients.