brainstrust attended the All-Party Parliamentary Groups combined meeting for brain tumours, breast cancer, cancer, hospice and palliative care, men’s health and ovarian cancer.
It was a bit of a squeeze but we did all fit into Committee Room 12 in the House of Commons. And what a good job we were there. We heard the Minister for Care Services Paul Burstow’s thoughts on the Government’s new cancer strategy: ‘Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer’. And Professor Mike Richards, National Clinical Director for Cancer and End of Life Care (and a very familiar face to brainstrust by now), was also quite forthright in his summation of how far we have progressed with the brain tumour National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2006 guidelines (http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CSGBraincns), which, in his words, isn’t very far. We are not in a good place for end of life care, and he said ‘that there are still things which don’t work very well.’ Best practice is not being fed through.
But being solution focused, we wanted to know what was going to happen to solve this. So there is to be self review of the quality of brain tumour care starting this April, which is going to lead to a formal peer review in 2012, by external assessors.
This means that care quality at neuroscience hospitals and elsewhere in the NHS will be checked against best practice guidance for brain tumours issued by NICE in 2006. The results will be published and the assessment process is designed to drive up standards in care for people affected by brain tumours.
Professor Sir Mike Richards also told us that “a new focus on metastatic [secondary] brain cancer” based on research into better use of scans and stereotactic radiosurgery would also “make a significant difference” for patients with secondary brain cancer as the reforms progress.
This is good news for brainstrust as we are so patient and carer focused. It means that we are well placed to feed through the challenges that we know are out there and that you tell us about.