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


Memorandum submitted by Professor N Thatcher, Christie Hospital NHS Trust

  Unfortunately we have seen little in the way of progress, since the publication of the Report, particularly in terms of delivery that would assist in trial recruitment (research nurses) and of funding of the NHS Cancer Plan. I am not aware of any productivity in terms of the National Cancer Research Institute and am unclear as to the relationship with the Cancer Research Funders' Forum, particularly with the amalgamation of the CRC and ICRF.

  The issue of cancer registration and data protection has become over-shadowed by the massive problems which have now arisen in obtaining and researching tissue samples (microscopic slides) and the small paraffin embedded tissue blocks, following the Alder Hay fiasco. This is severely limiting not only routine NHS practice (the need to review pathology) but also, of course, in supporting cancer research.

  I am not aware of any Cancer Research Network which has substantially increased the referral into randomised clinical trials.

  Unfortunately, what seems to be happening with the new cancer money has resulted in the employment of more and more administrators for the networks, project managers etc etc.

  The real problem, both in the NHS and research base, is not lack of administrators and bureaucrats but lack of therapy radiographers, research nurses, theatre time etc. From my own perspective the most crucial problem currently is recruitment and retention of therapy radiographers.

  To enhance recruitment, consideration should be given to subsidised accommodation in the large cities, much better and more user friendly nursery cre"ches based on the hospital premises, involving staff in leading edge developments and research etc would certainly increase enthusiasm and make the work less mundane and easier to accomplish.

  I hope these comments are of some help. Please contact me further if you feel I can be of help.

Professor N Thatcher

Professor of Oncology

28 November 2001

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