Specialist urology cancer surgery review: A message from Sue Hardy, chief executive
10 April 2015
There has been much publicity this week surrounding the provision of cancer services at Southend University Hospital, and I would like to clarify exactly what is happening at the moment and allay the fear and distress that this coverage may have caused to our patients.
Firstly let me reassure everyone that our cancer services are
safe and not under threat. The service that is under review
is specialist urology cancer surgery, that is complex open or
keyhole operations on the kidneys, bladder or prostate as part of a
patient's treatment for urological cancers. This specialist
surgery affects a small proportion of the patients who receive
treatment for urological cancers at Southend Hospital.
The recent scrutiny has arisen from a review to see if services
in Essex meet NICE guidelines. NICE (the National Institute
for Health and Care Excellence) recommends that hospitals that
provide specialist urology care should have a minimum catchment of
one million people.
Both Southend and Colchester hospitals provide specialist
urology cancer surgery and, as part of an Essex review, the
Specialist Commissioning Team (SCT) at NHS England identified that
neither hospital has the recommended million people in their
individual areas. For this reason the SCT is now reviewing
how specialist urology cancer surgery services are provided for
patients across the whole of Essex.
NICE recommendations are grounded in research and there is clear
evidence that specialist centres of care provide better outcomes
for patients treated there, which is why different hospitals in
Essex already have specialist centres for cancer, heart problems
and burns, for example.
I am working with our partners at the local Clinical
Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to develop our proposals to keep the
specialist urology cancer surgery service right here at
Southend. We will submit our plans in August and the final
decision will be made next year.
I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that,
regardless of the final decision next year, we will continue to
provide cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and
brachytherapy for urology patients at Southend Hospital, the same
as we are now. GPs will continue to refer patients with
suspected cancer to their local hospital for investigation and
diagnosis, and most cancer care will continue to be provided