Cancer is one of the most serious diseases and, as such, must be treated effectively and in a way that does not place the patient under undue stress and difficulty. Radiotherapy is used in the treatment of nearly half of all cancer patients, but the people of North-East Hertfordshire find it difficult to access these services, owing to the long journeys required to get to them.
The nearest radiotherapy facilities are in Mount Vernon Hospital in Hillingdon and Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. In order to prevent patients in North-East Hertfordshire from having to undertake these long trips – many of which have to be taken on consecutive days – I have launched a campaign to put pressure on NHS England to provide a satellite radiotherapy service in Lister Hospital in Stevenage. You can track the progress on my campaign below.
December 2014 - Here are links to three Written Parliamentary Questions I asked the Health Department at the start of my campaign, outlining the difficulty that the people in North East Hertfordshire have in accessing radiotherapy services:
January 9th 2015 - Here is a link to my Press Release about my petition for a Satellite Radiotherapy Centre at The Lister Hospital http://www.oliverheald.com/news/sir-oliver-heald-campaigns-satellite-radiotherapy-centre-lister-hospital
January 23rd 2015 - In the chamber, I called on the Leader of the House of Commons to povide Parliamentary time for a debate on radiotherapy services. Find out more here.
February 4th 2015 - I led a debate in Parliament on the provision of radiotherary services in North-East Hertfordshire, in which I called upon the Health Minister to press NHS England to consider the difficulties suffered by cancer patients in the constituency. Find out more here.
March 23rd 2015 - To test NHS England's claim that the journey from Letchworth to Mount Vernon Hospital in London can be done in 45 minutes, I have so far completed three journeys. Leaving LGC at 8am, it took 1 hour 25 minutes and, even at midday, it took almost an hour.
March 24th 2015 - I welcome the progress made at a meeting today with NHS England, Stephen Mc Partland MP, and a Consultant Surgeon from the Lister. See the press release here.
March 24th 2015 - The Government has given a response to the Petition that I presented to the House earlier this month. It is attached below. I am pleased that Ministers are actively considering the situation in Hertfordshire.
June 24th 2015 – I have received confirmation that the radiotherapy providers in the East of England are completing a Capacity and Demand Survey which will be returned to the Regional Team by 26th June. NHS England’s priorities for 2015/16 are to be published within the next few weeks, and this will include the subject of radiotherapy.
January 12th 2016 - I am arranging a meeting with Accountable Commissioner Kim Fell and other representatives from NHS England to discuss the findings of the radiotherapy capacity and demand survey, which is nearing completion.
April 2017 - I had a good meeting with Nick Carver CEO of Lister Hospital. There has been real progress in planning for a radiotherapy facility in Stevenage.
May 23 2018 - I have recently met Dr Rory Harvey of the East of England Cancer Alliance together with Stephen McPartland MP to discuss improving the patient experience and access issues. I am strongly supportive of attempts to improve cancer waits locally and provide radiotherapy in our area. This meeting follows an earlier meeting with the Board of the E&N Herts NHS Trust to press for action to help patients.
June 7 2018 - I have given my support to the attached letter from Stephen McPartland MP to Dr Rory Harvey and I look forward to seeing the formal response.
June 2018 - On 18th June, in welcoming the new funding for the NHS, I called in the House of Commons on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to consider the campaign by Hertfordshire MPs for funding for a radiotherapy facility in the County.
June 2019 - I wrote to CEO Nick Carver at the Lister to ask for an update on radiotherapy plans and here is his reply of 13 June:
Thank you for your continuing interest in the provision of radiotherapy services to our community.
As you will be aware from our recent discussions, NHSE Specialised Commissioners are currently conducting a strategic review of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.
There are three stages to the review:
1) Radiotherapy modelling
2) Clinical review of existing model and patient pathways
3) Operational modelling (including cost review)
The Trust is continuing to highlight to our commissioners the need to improve access to radiotherapy for the communities in North Hertfordshire and Stevenage. The Review Programme Board meets for the second time today and one of the papers considers the potential population flows for various models of radiotherapy location, including radiotherapy at Stevenage, and indeed at Luton, in order to inform longer term planning regarding radiotherapy capacity.
The strategic review is scheduled to conclude in Autumn 2019 with a recommendation of a preferred clinical model(s). Subject to agreement, any options regarding the change in location of service will then need to be tested further with patients and stakeholders via a public consultation, which will be led by Specialised Commissioners.
In parallel, as a Trust we are refreshing last year’s bid to ensure we are able to submit a compelling case for STP wave 5 funding for satellite radiotherapy in our area.
Thank you again for your continuing interest.
Nick Carver | Chief Executive
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
|Letter to Dr Rory Harvey.pdf||469.67 KB|