Memorandum submitted by Professor N Thatcher,
Christie Hospital NHS Trust
Unfortunately we have seen little in the way
of progress, since the publication of the Report, particularly
in terms of delivery that would assist in trial recruitment (research
nurses) and of funding of the NHS Cancer Plan. I am not aware
of any productivity in terms of the National Cancer Research Institute
and am unclear as to the relationship with the Cancer Research
Funders' Forum, particularly with the amalgamation of the CRC
The issue of cancer registration and data protection
has become over-shadowed by the massive problems which have now
arisen in obtaining and researching tissue samples (microscopic
slides) and the small paraffin embedded tissue blocks, following
the Alder Hay fiasco. This is severely limiting not only routine
NHS practice (the need to review pathology) but also, of course,
in supporting cancer research.
I am not aware of any Cancer Research Network
which has substantially increased the referral into randomised
Unfortunately, what seems to be happening with
the new cancer money has resulted in the employment of more and
more administrators for the networks, project managers etc etc.
The real problem, both in the NHS and research
base, is not lack of administrators and bureaucrats but lack of
therapy radiographers, research nurses, theatre time etc. From
my own perspective the most crucial problem currently is recruitment
and retention of therapy radiographers.
To enhance recruitment, consideration should
be given to subsidised accommodation in the large cities, much
better and more user friendly nursery cre"ches based on the
hospital premises, involving staff in leading edge developments
and research etc would certainly increase enthusiasm and make
the work less mundane and easier to accomplish.
I hope these comments are of some help. Please
contact me further if you feel I can be of help.
Professor N Thatcher
Professor of Oncology
28 November 2001