Comments on topical issues from the ACP Executive Committee
Response to "Cancer drugs, survival, and ethics"
We have responded here (abridged print version) to the article published in the BMJ which questioned the application and benefit of chemotherapy. Whilst raising a number of good points we felt that we needed to provide a response to balance the debate. We encourage you to read both the orginal article and our response.
Report on SACT 30-day mortality published
The ACP was pleased to see publication by Public Health England (PHE) of the report in the Lancet Oncology on 30-day mortality following administration of SACT (Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy) for breast and lung cancers. The data from individual trusts is also available. This is an important marker for safety of the administration of SACT and is one of the measurement used to monitor service quality. These data allow cancer centres to compare and benchmark best practice to ensure continued improvement in services. Over time the accuracy of these reports improves as data collection becomes embedded in good practice, as we have seen with the National Lung Cancer Audit. Ongoing support of these audits by NHS England and individual trusts is essential in maintaining and enhancing the quality of cancer care.
The ACP Chair, Professor Johnathan Joffe has released a statement reflecting on the significance of the data.
DoH responds to oncology trainees' letter and survey
Oncology trainees in both medical and clinical oncology have released a letter to Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, and results from a related survey, on the governments proposal to impose a contract on junior doctors. The survey includes responses from 600 doctors, and the statement is supported by over 470 Clinical and Medical Oncology consultants and trainees. The documents illustrate the strength of feeling amongst doctors treating patients with cancer in the UK.
Changes to the Junior Doctor Contract – Threat to cancer care in England
The recent publicity surrounding the proposed changes to the working patterns of junior doctors and the threat of imposition of a new contract has attracted recent attention. While there has been much speculation about how these changes will affect junior doctors across the NHS, as the body representing medical oncology, we feel that it is important to explain the potential impact that these changes will have on patients with cancer.
The attached statement spells out the specific concerns that changes to training will have for current and future medical oncologists who specialise in the development of new cancer treatments and the provision of systemic cancer therapies
We support our talented and hard working junior doctors. Their role is paramount to maintaining and improving the care our patients expect and deserve. The proposed contract as it stands will be a step back to poorer patient care.
We call for a complete reconsideration of planned changes that we believe will be detrimental to the short and long-term care of cancer patients. Furthermore, we do not believe that these proposed changes will address any perceived discrepancies in care across the seven day week.
Professor David Cunningham, ACP Chair, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast to remind anyone who may have symptoms or concerns that they might have cancer to seek medical advice. Much progress has been made to ensure that hospitals are safe environments to undertake investigations and deliver effective treatments. The NHS is very much open for business.