New NHS proposals to create a single, specialist, surgical centre for secondary liver cancer patients from Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and North Bedfordshire are to be examined by councillors for the first time.
The newly-formed and one-off Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Scrutiny Committee will meet next week (Wednesday, September 25) to consider the proposals from NHS England.
If implemented, there would be just one centre to provide surgery for liver metastases (the spread of cancer from one organ or part of the body to another) for patients within the four areas. The centre would be at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
Until recently there were three centres in the region - at Ipswich Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich and Addenbrookes Hospital. Liver resection surgery has already stopped in Ipswich.
It follows a review started in 2011 which found that the number of patients undergoing liver cancer surgery was significantly lower (90 patients a year) than the national average. National clinical guidelines recommend having a centralised, specialist service that brings together dedicated, multidisciplinary experts to deliver high quality care for as many as 200 patients a year. NHS England is responsible for commissioning this service and is only able to commission a service that complies with those guidelines.
Cambridgeshire’s Adult Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Norfolk’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Suffolk’s Health Scrutiny Committee have agreed to establish a time-limited, joint committee to scrutinise the proposals.
Councillor Tony Goldson, chairman of the Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee and member of the joint committee, said:
“This type of specialist liver surgery is currently provided at the Norfolk and Norwich and at Addenbrookes.
“The joint committee wants to understand the implications of the proposal to establish a single centre in Cambridge and to be assured that this will deliver a high quality service that is in the best interests of people who may need this service in the future.”
The Joint Committee will consider:
The extent to which the proposals are in the interests of people in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The impact of the proposals on patient and carer experience and outcomes and on their health and well-being.
The quality of the clinical evidence underlying the proposals.
The extent to which the proposals are financially sustainable.
As well as hearing from NHS England, the committee will be seeking views from stakeholders, patients and the public, and will be making a final response to NHS England and other appropriate agencies on the proposals later in the year.