Our response to the NHS consultation into children's cancers
We believe that a proposal which retains The Royal Marsden’s cancer expertise, life-saving research, modern facilities and accessible location for the population we serve will continue to provide the best clinical outcomes and patient experience.
30 January 2020
There have been some factually inaccurate reports in a small section of the media regarding the quality and future of our children’s service.
Last summer there was an NHS public consultation and subsequent review into how children’s cancer services in England are run. One of the areas it focussed on was whether children’s cancer services should be co-located on the same site as paediatric intensive care and other specialist children’s services.
On January 30th, the NHS England Board decided it wishes to proceed with a co-located model for children and young people. This is not currently available at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, and there is no hospital in south London which provides both specialist children’s cancer services and paediatric intensive care on the same site. NHS England is therefore now assessing the options available to them. One of these options is to develop the service on the Sutton site and is therefore incorrect to say our service has been closed.
This assessment will take approximately six months, after which there will be further consideration of the impact of any changes on patients and their families. Any changes are likely to take a number of years to achieve as they will involve significant investment by the NHS in new facilities.
In the meantime it is important that our patients and their families know that the evidence shows our service is entirely safe. We have never experienced a serious incident in relation to the transfer of children from The Royal Marsden to St George’s paediatric intensive care, and the Care Quality Commission has assessed this specific aspect of our model as safe, noting that transfers take place ‘without compromising safety.” The Royal Marsden in Sutton ensures that children and young people with cancer receive the very best treatment and care, including access to clinical trials to improve survival, expertise in oncology, and modern, age-appropriate facilities. The Care Quality Commission recently assessed the Trust as ‘a beacon of outstanding practice’ and our children’s service as ‘good’ for safety and ‘outstanding’ for caring. Patients and families consistently rate us as one of the best centres in the country for patient experience.
We believe that a proposal which retains The Royal Marsden’s cancer expertise, life-saving research, modern facilities and accessible location for the population we serve will continue to provide the best clinical outcomes and patient experience. We will be urging NHS England to demonstrate that any proposed changes can provide a better service for children with cancer and their families.