Why we're changing the way we manage children’s cancer care
New national guidelines came out in 2005 which specified how children’s cancer care should be organised and delivered.
The guidelines state that for a hospital to be classed as a Centre of Excellence for children’s cancer care it must see a minimum of 80 new cases each year. Currently, Leicester sees on average 30 new cases each year and Nottingham 80 new cases each year.
In order to meet the new standards, some services need to be grouped together in one place where there are enough very specialist doctors, nurses, other staff, facilities and equipment.
As well as the centre of excellence we need to further develop the cancer care available to children at our other hospitals around the East Midlands so that they receive the highest possible quality of care delivered to the same standards.
Meanwhile, in the community, children’s cancer outreach nurses already provide an excellent service. However, they are currently under-resourced and access to them is patchy. The service needs to be co-ordinated centrally and developed across the whole of the East Midlands to ensure that patients receive adequate support once they leave hospital. This will in turn support a more timely discharge from hospital and also, potentially, reduce the need for re-attendance or re-admission.
Further support is also required for palliative care. Currently, too many children die in hospital because they cannot be supported adequately at home.