LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
1. The conclusions of the next independent
study or inquiry on cancer care or research will be crucial in
assessing the effectiveness of the NHS Cancer Plan (paragraph
Government Research Funding
2. We recommend that the Department of Health
publish annual figures for their expenditure on cancer research,
detailing exactly where money is spent. We are not convinced that
the £190 million which the Government claims to be spending
on cancer research is really being spent on cancer research alone
3. There remains a suspicion that at least
some of the increase in spending is merely the result of re-badging
4. Whatever the exact level of Government
and charitable funding of cancer research, and irrespective of
which is the greater, it is clear that the Government is still
far from spending as much as is needed. The Committee's Report
recommended that the Government should spend at least £200
million per annum on cancer research, excluding funds from NHS
R&D or the Higher Education Funding Councils. The Government
still has a way to go to achieve this target (paragraph 14).
Cancer Plan Funding
5. The increase in cancer care funding, often
quoted over recent months, may not be reaching those who are relying
on it to deliver the Cancer Plan. We are seriously concerned at
the apparent ease with which Trusts can redeploy such funds if
they choose. We consider it dissembling to allocate funding to
cancer care, with great publicity, without taking even the simplest
precaution to ensure that it reaches the intended areas. It is
vital that end-of-year accounts for 2000-01, when eventually published,
reveal exactly where Cancer Plan funds were deployed, and that
Trusts be made answerable for any cancer funding spent on other
services or financial requirements (paragraph 18).
National Cancer Research Institute
6. We welcome the establishment of a National
Cancer Research Institute and are pleased to hear of strengthening
links between Government, charities and industry, although it
is too soon to judge the effectiveness of its projects. We believe
that the Institute could benefit from a higher profile amongst
those not directly involved in its work (paragraph 22).
National Cancer Research Networks
7. It would be helpful to researchers, clinicians
and patients if a map of the regional Cancer Networks was available
and we recommend that such a map be published in the next NHS
Cancer Plan progress report (paragraph 23).
8. We welcome the Government's move to establish
a network structure for research funding and collaboration across
the regions. We can only hope that the workings of the separate
research and service networks are clearer to those working in,
and treated within them, than they are to us (paragraph 26).
National Translational Cancer Research Network
9. We welcome the introduction of a network
specifically designed to further translational research. We recommend
that the level of core funding for NTRAC centres is kept under
review, to ensure they are able to operate effectively (paragraph
MRC Cancer Cell Unit at Addenbrookes'
10. We urge the MRC to support further translational
research activities along the lines of the new Addenbrooke's Cancer
Cell Unit (paragraph 29).
Beatson Institute, Glasgow
11. We must express our concern at the situation
at the Beatson as it has implications for cancer research across
the UK. We have referred our concerns to our colleagues on the
Health and Community Care Committee in the Scottish Parliament
for them to take further as appropriate (paragraph 30).
12. The Department of Health expected the
Health and Social Care Act Regulations to be laid before Parliament
in February 2002. We note that this was not achieved. We await
the forthcoming Regulations with impatience (paragraph 34).
13. The GMC's Guidance on Confidentiality
was very ill-advised and has been highly damaging to information
gathering for medical research and cancer registration (paragraph
14. The delay by the Department of Health
in setting up the Patients' Information Advisory Group and in
bringing forward draft legislation to address the situation of
cancer registration is deeply regrettable. Unless legislation
is put in place swiftly, medical research will be irretrievably
damaged (paragraph 37).
15. We are concerned at the Department of
Health's inability to provide real targets or figures on NHS cancer
staff, even for those in training. Without current staffing figures
and targets, progress cannot be assessed in future. We urge
the Department to publish its staffing goals and to provide regular
updates on their progress. Funding posts is not enough: the Department
must ensure that there are enough staff in training to fill these
posts. We find lack of measurable progress in addressing staffing
problems disappointing (paragraph 42).
16. We note the Department of Health's confidence
that equipment is being provided on time and in the right places,
with adequate staff support. Morale in hospitals and among patients
will plummet if there is not the staff on the ground to be able
to make full use of new equipment (paragraph 46).
Access to clinical trials
17. We are disappointed at the lack of progress
in the admission of cancer patients into clinical trials. We urge
more rapid progress towards the development of extensive and accessible
clinical trials databases to inform both researchers and patients
and look forward to seeing a rapid rise in the number of patients
entering clinical in trials in the near future (paragraph 47).
Patient access to drugs
18. We remain to be convinced that the problems
of timely patient access to drugs have been solved, and in view
of strong criticism expressed to us in evidence on the National
Institute of Clinical Excellence, we look forward to the Health
Committee's Report on NICE with interest (paragraph 49).
19. We welcome the merger of the Cancer Research
Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and expect the
new charity, Cancer Research UK, to prove an even stronger champion
of UK cancer research. We hope other cancer charities see their
example as a positive one to follow, and that more mergers and
consolidations of cancer research organisations will follow (paragraph
National Cancer Act
20. We recommend that the Government reconsider
the potential value of a National Cancer Act in the light of our
concerns regarding cancer registration, adequate funding for the
cancer research infrastructure and the need for a cancer research
strategy (paragraph 54).