"Just under a year ago, MP's and Peers of all parties came together to help launch Macmillan's Cancer Relief "Get it Spent where it's Meant" campaign. Today, Macmillan published its campaign recommendations on the same theme."
"These focus on the key front line services that need the cash and which will directly help the patient. One recommendation underlines the importance of "resource tracking" to make sure that Health Authorities don't spend the money earmarked for cancer on other services."
Sir George Young recently attended a Parliamentary reception, where he heard Macmillan Cancer Relief call on the Government to get cancer money spent where it’s meant. Chief Executive Peter Cardy told the Secretary of State for Health that it is vital the Government takes urgent action to make cancer money really count for patients and their day-to-day quality of life
Macmillan backed up its call with four key recommendations, based on a survey of the NHS carried out with the help of MPs. The survey findings show a lack of transparency, widespread inconsistencies in how the money is allocated and tracked, poor investment in cancer services that improve the patient’s experience and inadequate provision for meaningful patient involvement. Only 10 out of 20 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) were able to provide details of their planned cancer spend for 2003-2004. And only five provided details for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.
In addition, where SHAs gave a breakdown of budget allocation, most of the money went on ‘hard’ targets – staffing, drugs and equipment - rather than improving quality of life for patients.
Macmillan’s Get It Spent Where It’s Meant campaign paper recommends for Government to:
• Commit to improving the way the NHS tracks investment in cancer services, institute a review and report its recommendations to Parliament within an agreed timeframe
• Develop and introduce a mechanism for the routine and consistent tracking of investment in cancer services and progress made in improving the patient’s experience.
• Require the NHS to publicise locally its plans for cancer services and how the investment is being spent
• Ensure meaningful service user involvement in planning and tracking investment in cancer services at all levels and measure outcomes through a new, improved National Cancer Patients’ Survey
Peter Cardy, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Relief, comments:
“MPs have played a key part in this campaign. It’s fantastic that they are working with Macmillan to help people living with cancer. Macmillan looks forward to working with them to ensure that together the Government and the NHS get cancer money spent where it’s meant in a way that really makes it count for patients and their day-to-day quality of life.”
Sir George said
“I was delighted to attend Macmillan’s Parliamentary reception and give my support. This is an important campaign affecting my constituents. I will now be raising Macmillan’s recommendations paper with the local NHS, so that together we can look at getting cancer services money spent where it’s meant in a way that really makes it count for patients and their day-to-day quality of life.”
Extract from Macmillan Press Notice
While the £570 million extra funding earmarked for cancer treatment has been welcomed, Macmillan Cancer Care argued that flaws in the system were preventing it from reaching the places where it is needed.
Of the 20 strategic health authorities surveyed for the charity, only 11 could provide details of their spending for 2003-4, while only five could give information to 2006.
A breakdown of the cancer budgets were offered by four authorities, while four referred to the information on their websites.
The claims come after health secretary John Reid ordered an investigation into why access to some cancer drugs varies across the country.
"Despite the government's best intentions, and a welcome extra £570 million for cancer services by 2004, the challenge remains," argued Macmillan chief executive Peter Cardy.
"The government must be seen to get the money spent where it's meant in a way that makes it count for patients.
"It can be done, but only if investment is tracked effectively."
The charity called on the government to make a commitment to improve the tracking of cancer funding in the NHS and to report its findings to parliament.
There should also be a mechanism for tracking the investment and its benefit to patients, the charity said, and publicity should be organised to show how cancer funding is spent locally.