New cancer care in Newham hopes to save a thousand a year

A radical restructuring of NHS cancer services in Newham was announced on Thursday that could save up to a thousand lives a year.

The first and only health initiative of its kind in the UK, London Cancer will be the new body serving 3.5 million people in north, central, and north east London and west Essex.

Known as an Integrated Cancer System (ICS), London Cancer will work alongside another body called London Alliance that will care for the rest of the capital.

London Cancer aims to bring together a number of charities, research academics, community organisations, and care providers under one body to provide more diverse care that means patients will not need to travel as far for specialist treatment.

Promoting early diagnosis is the key to London Cancer’s success and, as well as boosting survival rates, it aims to have a third of cancer patients participating in potentially beneficial clinical trials and research whereas only 18 per cent of patients are currently taking part.

Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, the chief medical officer of the London Cancer, said: “London is a world-class city and every single Londoner with cancer deserves world-class care.

“But too many Londoners are being diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage of the disease, when it is difficult, if not impossible, to cure.

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“That’s why we need the radical change that these new integrated cancer systems can provide.”

Describing the old system as “a disjointed and fragmented experience for Londoners”, Professor Pritchard-Jones continued: “Instead of thinking about care at an individual hospital level, London Cancer clinicians at local hospitals will work in partnership with GPs and colleagues from across the system to map out a comprehensive, seamless clinical pathway for every patient.”

She added: “Members of the public need to be aware of the early warning signs of cancer and the importance of going to the doctor without delay.

“We will also support GPs, who see an average of eight new cancer cases a year, to get better at identifying elevated cancer risk among patients with general symptoms that wouldn’t normally cause alarm.”