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New guidance launched to ensure London provides world-class cancer rehabilitation services

12th July 2019

London’s Transforming Cancer Services Team (TCST) and Macmillan Cancer Support have published new guidance to ensure that all patients living with and beyond cancer do not just live longer, but are supported to live well too.

Download the report here.

Rehabilitation is a vital component in the care of people living with and beyond cancer and is key to delivering personalised care. The Integrated Care System Guidance for Cancer Rehabilitation sets out what good cancer rehabilitation looks like and how commissioners can work with providers to ensure their local populations have access to the rehabilitation services they need.

The development of guidance involved over one hundred hours of face-to-face time with patients, even more with service providers, and identified that there are needs which are not being met. Cancer rehabilitation provides a range of benefits for the wider healthcare economy but more needs to be done to raise the profile and awareness of cancer rehabilitation in London.

The guidance includes an overview of cancer rehabilitation services in London and West Essex, service improvement tools outlining what good looks like, and a minimum dataset.  A range of recommendations are presented alongside the next steps needed to support implementation. The recommendations align to NHS England’s Long Term Plan for an all age, whole population approach to personalised care.

Steve Tolan, allied health professions lead, NHS London region, said:

“We know that one in two of the London and West Essex population are likely to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Access to rehabilitation has an essential role in supporting people to achieve their treatment and survivorship goals. As the demand for cancer services continues to increase, this much needed guidance aims to reduce the unwarranted variation in access and quality of cancer rehabilitation across London and West Essex.

“The NHS Long Term Plan includes commitments to improve early diagnosis and continue increases in long term survivorship. However, there is also a need to ensure that service users are supported to manage the impact of their cancer and their survivorship journey. Together, there is an opportunity to ensure that those having to experience a cancer diagnosis do not just live longer, but are supported to live well too.”

David Jillings, Pelvic Radiation Disease Association trustee, said:

“We know that the number of patients treated for cancer will increase, and survival rates will improve as well. This will result in significant increase in demand for rehabilitation. We owe it to patients to give them the best possible chance of dealing with the impacts of their treatments, and of enjoying the best possible quality of life afterwards. The recommendations in this report will make a worthy contribution towards achieving that goal.

“Compiling this report has taken a tremendous amount of effort, and on behalf of those who will unfortunately find themselves needing support during their experience of cancer, I thank everyone involved, and look forward to seeing the next phases of this work.”

The Integrated Care System Guidance for Cancer Rehabilitation was produced by London’s TCST and fully funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

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