Improving cancer care and addressing health inequalities were the key focus of our most recent stakeholder event held on 17th October.
David McNulty, Independent Chair of Surrey Heartlands Transformation Board, opened the meeting by welcoming the audience and outlining the content of the event. He went on to cover major developments since the last meeting of the group including confirmation of £15m of Transformation Funding for this financial year, the launch of our new newsletter and website and the holding of our first Cardiovascular co-design event.
Ruth Hutchinson Surrey County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health and her colleague Andrew Cross jointly presented an analysis of health inequalities in Surrey Heartlands. This was in response to a request at the last group meeting.
The main presentation at the event was from Dr Chrissie Clayton, clinical lead for the Cancer workstream, and Cancer programme manager Phil McNamara on plans to integrate and improve cancer services across Surrey Heartlands.
Both speakers responded to extensive BBC coverage on the morning of the meeting of the failure by hospital trusts to meet targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations. Nationally England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit one of their three key targets for 18 months. The target for cancer is that patients will be treated within 62 days of an urgent referral.
They made the point that some delays may be the result of the involvement of more than one hospital in a patient’s care, citing Royal Surrey County Hospital as an example of a cancer centre which takes patients from many other hospitals.
The value of earlier diagnosis in terms of improved outcomes and better patient experience was illustrated through a video called Michael’s Story in which Michael explains how his lung cancer was diagnosed early and treated swiftly so that his outlook is as positive as it could be.
Dr Clayton also revealed the intention to improve the way health and social care supports people Living With and Beyond Cancer. “We need to make sure that we don’t just help more people to live following a cancer diagnosis, but to live well, “she said.