Out of the cancer maze
21 March 2021
"We are at a crossroads for cancer care" says this report. "After a year of devastating disruption to diagnosis and treatment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, no-one can be under any illusion about the scale of the challenge cancer services face to get back on track."
In the meantime, patients are caught in the maze - uncertain about their care plan, stuck between services, waiting for appointments and scans, or feeling on a "cliff edge" after their treatment ends. As many as 50,000 people may be missing a cancer diagnosis due to disruptions caused by coronavirus, with many people being too scared to seek help for symptoms from their GP.
The report is entitled "Caught in the Maze" but in fact, it suggests some ways through the maze. The starting point is the innovation and collaboration that the response to Covid-19 provoked.
Responding to the crisis has brought organisations together - improving collaboration while reducing bureaucracy and duplication. It has shown how care can be delivered in the community through diagnostic hubs and mobile units. And technology has enabled services to join up in a way that system leaders have long been attempting.
The report sets out a series of recommendations for how these advances can be maintained and built on. Workforce and funding are, of course, part of the picture. But integration of services and personalisation of care are also crucial.