The Cancer Reform Strategy identified that delivering cancer care in the most appropriate setting is crucial to improving patient outcomes and experience, as well as ensuring that NHS resources are used effectively.
Inpatient care initiative
Avoiding unnecessary admissions and reducing the lengths of hospital stay are vitally important for patients and for the NHS. At present cancer patients occupy 5 million bed days and it has been identified that there is an opportunity to save one million of these bed days, freeing up resources and improving patient care. The NCAT is working on a combined initiative with NHS Improvement and the National Cancer Services Analysis Team (NatCanSat) to tackle this issue.
The joint initiative has already begun work on tackling this problem by:
- Reducing elective lengths of stay
- Avoiding unnecessary emergency admission
- Streamlining inpatient care (elective and emergency)
- Encouraging stronger commissioning
National Chemotherapy Advisory Group
At the end of 2008, the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group (NCAG) published a draft of its report Chemotherapy Services in England: Ensuring quality and safety for consultation. The report was produced partly in response to serious concerns about quality and safety identified in a report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD). The report recommended a series of changes, including:
- Ensuring that all hospitals establish acute oncology services;
- Improving the experience of patients receiving chemotherapy; and
- Establishing clear models of chemotherapy service delivery, with three different levels of service, depending on the complexity of the chemotherapy and the degree of specialism required.