Improving cancer and heart disease care 

29/10/2013 00:00 
Today, NHS England has formally agreed to consider proposals developed by clinicians across UCLPartners for improving specialist cardiovascular services in north and east London, and specialist cancer services in north and east London and west Essex.

If approved by commissioners the plans could see cardiovascular services move from UCLH’s Heart Hospital to Barts Health NHS Trust and UCLH becoming a specialist hub for a number of cancers.

Clinicians have developed recommendations for improving specialist services for cancer and cardiovascular care. In summary these proposals are:

To concentrate the delivery of highly complex or rare specialist cancer surgery and treatment in a reduced number of centres. It is proposed that UCLH would be the centre responsible for specialist surgery for brain, head and neck, oesophago-gastric and prostate and bladder cancers as well as very specialist haematology.

To move cardiovascular services at the Heart Hospital to a new state of the art centre at Barts Health (alongside services from the London Chest which are due to relocate in 2014)

The recommendations would see a greater focus on joined-up care spanning prevention and earlier diagnosis through to treatment, and fewer designated centres providing care to those needing the most specialist treatment.

NHS England today launched an early engagement process which will run until Wednesday 4 December and inform a pre-consultation business case.

Feedback during the engagement period will determine if formal consultation is needed.
This process will provide opportunities for the public, staff and other stakeholders to discuss the clinical proposals before commissioners make any decisions.

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive said: “This is about further developing London as a global leader in healthcare delivering the very best outcomes for patients with cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

Professor David Fish, UCLPartners’ Managing Director said: “There has been great progress in cancer and cardiovascular care in recent years but unfortunately these diseases are still responsible for around two-thirds of early deaths in London.

“We have some of the best cancer and heart experts in the country, but our services are often not joined up, leading to later diagnosis, poor patient experience and less favourable outcomes. Our specialist care lacks the critical mass of expertise to achieve the best for patients and we fail to make the most of new technologies and innovations that we know could help more patients.

“All of this has led clinicians to recommend that commissioners develop whole systems of integrated care that include fewer, larger centres for specialist services for cancer and heart disease. This will save lives and benefit thousands of patients by providing the latest treatments, research and medical innovation.”

NHS England as the main commissioner of these services, together with clinical commissioning group partners, is keen to engage with local people on clinicians’ ideas. A series of local events, starting on 28 October 2013, will be an opportunity for anyone who is interested in these recommendations to hear more and give their feedback to NHS England and local clinicians.

NHS England would like to hear views on the recommendations by 4 December 2013.
For further information please visit the Improving Specialist Services section of the UCL Partners website or the NHS England website (



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