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Doctors brand cancer centre cuts 'draconian'

Some of the UK’s leading brain doctors have criticised the government for “draconian changes”, which they claim could put cancer patients’ lives at risk.

In a letter to NHS leaders, seen by the Daily Mirror, the group of experts express their anger at plans to cut the number of specialist brain cancer centres from 25 to seven.

They claim the new system will restrict access to advanced radiotherapy, delay treatment and leave multi-million pound cancer machines sitting idle instead of being used by patients.

“To the layman it’s appalling. To the expert it’s appalling”

Matthias Radatz

The letter was signed by all 13 members of the Radiosurgery Clinical Review Group representing regions across England.

But the body NHS England said resources need to be “in the right place to benefit the most patients”.

Lead consultant neurosurgeon Matthias Radatz, chair of the group, said NHS England was “acting out of spite or ignorance”.

Matthias Radatz

Mr Matthias Radatz

“The changes last year were draconian and patients who wait for radiosurgery have been left totally in limbo,” he told the newspaper. “To the layman it’s appalling. To the expert it’s appalling.”

The letter adds: “We felt this structure was already well-established and in place and there would be no need to re-invent the wheel and that commissioning should continue.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “We cannot have expensive facilities underused. The emerging findings of the internal review report do suggest that there is excess capacity and poor utilisation across the current providers which is not in the best interest of patients.

“We cannot have expensive facilities underused”

NHS England

“Following feedback there is more work to be done on understanding the future numbers of patients that need treatment for the clinical conditions already described in the national clinical policies,” the spokesman for NHS England said.

“It is important that we have the right provision in the right place delivered by a full team of clinicians to best serve patients and make the money available go as far as it possibly can,” he added.

Readers' comments (7)

  • So a group of beaurocrats in their ivory towers know better than all the expert clinicians then! Will they be the ones to face families when told their loved ones have to travel possibly hundreds of miles for life saving treatment, or not be able to have it at all.

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  • tinkerbell

    This is the last straw for me. I don't use the word 'hate' lightly but like Nye Bevan I now hate the tories with a passion.

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  • it seems as if the previously indisputable and non negotiable sanctity and uniqueness of each and every human life is rapidly losing its value in the UK. once you go there is always another to take your place!

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  • ...and hit and miss whether people get the appropriate treatment they need in time and without adding to the already immeasurable stress and distress caused to patients and their families

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  • tinkerbell

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-hospital-corporation-america-donates-2246513

    follow where the money's going. Absolutely disgusting jeopardising the health of our nation. People's lives are at stake and people will die!

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  • how tragic for everybody concerned. not only is it a huge waste of money, and resources no longer being utilised, but all the progress of modern medicine is being seriously hampered and held back to prevent future progress being made and no consideration is being given to the advice or say of experts in their own field. no consideration is being given to the clinical needs of patients and the consequences of these actions upon patients who are at the core of all of this and should be the first priority which should go without saying. it is very apparent that those making these decisions have as far as clinical care is concerned no idea whatsoever of what they are doing as far as the damage to patients and their families and even their staff is concerned.

    thanks for posting the link Tinkerbell. there needs to be further proof of all the allegations made are correct although it may have little effect on the decisions already made by the government.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 1-Apr-2014 8:02 pm

    I would prefer if none of it were true, I would prefer that I have got it all wrong and in fact there is no intention to privatise services and put profits before peoples lives, sadly, sadly I find no evidence to support my wishful thinking that even this so called government could not be so cruel as to inflict such pain and suffering on its own citizens. The NHS is over and what has any other party done to try and save it, absolutely nothing!

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