Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted to the CRC Department of Medical Oncology, Christie CRC Research Centre, Christie Hospital NHS Trust

  There has certainly been some progress in that NICE approved drugs are now properly funded. Unfortunately there is little evidence of other hypothecated funding reaching us here. Certainly the most visible hypothecated form funding would be the extra posts planned as part of achieving the national cancer plan. As far as additional consultant oncology posts go, we are lagging well behind the proposed timetable for increases in numbers of consultants. We started below the national average and are falling further behind. I feel that this will not be rectified unless the money comes direct as earmarked funding to the cancer networks. Ideally there should also be a long-term commitment so that proper planning can be achieved rather than year by year.

  Regrettably the Christie Hospital is in the last wave of cancer research networks. As such we have yet to receive any of the funding from the NCRN. We are hopeful that we will receive significant funding from the NCRN and this will facilitate the development of research network within our large cancer network. The translational research centres appear to be a good idea and we have submitted an application to be one of those.

  We are a CRC centre and the links between the CRC and ICRF to become a single organisation along with a more effective National Cancer Research Institute, should enable major developments to happen. I have not seen much direct evidence of this yet but things do at least seem to be moving in the right direction.

  Overall, my impression is that research aspects are moving forward and we remain optimistic that the plan is sound. Clearly more funding is needed particularly for translational research. I am however, more concerned about the service developments. Large amounts of hypothecated funding have been proposed but there is little evidence of that reaching us here in what is a very large cancer centre. A medium term (three to five year) plan to increase consultant, nurse, radiographer and other professions allied to medicine in cancer care, is vital. It is currently very difficult to plan these posts and we cannot do that effectively without secure commitment of funding from the government. It would be far better if that was to come direct to the cancer networks rather than indirectly via any other route.

Robert E Hawkins

CRC Professor of Medical Oncology

4 December 2001

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