Improving cancer outcomes and care across Surrey and Sussex

Cancer work programmes are lead across Surrey and Sussex by the Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance.

The Alliance spans both Surrey and Sussex, sits across three Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (Frimley Health, Surrey Heartlands, and Sussex & East Surrey) and contains eight NHS cancer providers (two cancer centres and six cancer units).

NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG is a partner organisation within the Alliance.

The objectives for the Alliance are to improve and transform services and outcomes for cancer patients. To achieve this, the Alliance will focus on earlier diagnosis of cancer – specific initiatives and transformations that will increase the numbers of people diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 of their disease.

We also aim to do more to help patients after their diagnosis of cancer, to ‘live with and beyond’ the disease and to better help provide the physical and social support they will need.

We started this financial year setting out our delivery plan for the Alliance, and linking this to the Five Year Forward View and the independent Cancer Taskforce Report, and there are four emerging clinically-led workstreams:

  • prevention,
  • early diagnosis,
  • treatment and care and
  • living with and beyond cancer

The workstreams also align to five high priority pathway groups that focus on a sub-set of cancer tumour groups:

  • breast,
  • lung,
  • upper GI,
  • lower GI and
  • prostate.

Again these are clinically-led and have been carefully chosen – based on the national cancer programme requirements – but also include high-volume specialities such as prostate (urology) where we know we can achieve service improvements that will not only positively impact on cancer patients but help our providers deliver value for money and more sustainable services in general.

Radiotherapy

As part of the Alliance, there is a Radiotherapy Strategy Group and this includes clinical and system leaders from across Surrey and Sussex, with both cancer centres represented, together with NHSE Specialised Commissioners.    

It is important to note the commissioning of radiotherapy services within the NHS is currently the remit of Specialised Commissioning, under NHS England. 

We recognise that the Alliance has led a robust approach to develop an analytics study concerning the future demand and capacity for radiotherapy for people across Surrey and Sussex. 

From this the study has supported a short-list of possible options for future clinic locations, leading to a preferred option for future clinics to be sited at St Richard’s Hospital and co-terminus with current chemotherapy facilities. Coastal West Sussex CCG understands the model draws on an extensive series of data sets including population, demographics, cancer incidence, historical patterns of radiotherapy treatment, travel times and linac utilisation.

The agreed next steps are for the Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance Board to continue to develop its recommendations through to final definition of the future radiotherapy requirements for West Sussex, and for the Alliance to continue to work with NHS England Specialised Commissioning to provide oversight of any future procurement and implementation.

We are aware that the modelling indicates that something needs to be in place by 2021, however timescales for the above have not yet been shared with the CCG. 

In the meantime, the CCG Governing Body aspires to see access to Radiotherapy Services improved for our patients and will offer support however we can to progress this.