PM implies 'Not my problem' on RT funding
The Prime Minister has responded to a letter calling for more radiotherapy funding by ‘passing the buck’ to NHS trusts.
The SCoR joined with seven other professional and industry organisations to write an open letter to David Cameron which raised concerns about the number of treatment machines which will need to be replaced in the next three years and called for a higher level of funding to support advanced radiotherapy treatment.
In his response, Cameron writes: “It is important to recognise that it is providers’ responsibility to ensure that they have the right equipment and properly trained staff to deliver high quality treatment to their patients.
“The report you refer to, Radiotherapy Services in England 2012, does identify the need to replace equipment at the end of its useful life, as well as a need for an increased number of machines to meet anticipated demand up to 2016. However, it also points out that trusts need to be active asset managers.
“There is capital money in the system for new machines where these are needed. The capital regime now operating in the NHS enables trusts to plan strategically for, and manage, their capital expenditure, including replacing high value equipment. Ultimately, trust boards are accountable for ensuring that equipment is both maintained and replaced when necessary.”
Cameron's response 'chilling'
SCoR's CEO Richard Evans said he was disappointed by the Prime Minister’s response: “The Health and Social Care Act in England is clear that politicians no longer have to carry any responsibility for the way the NHS is managed. This response is a chilling example of this principle in action.
“The eight organisations that wrote about the impending crisis in equipment provision did so because of genuine concerns that, without government action, services and patients would suffer.
"We should be seeing one Linac a week being installed and commissioned in England and this should continue until 2016. The PM says “not my problem”, neatly pointing out that NHS trust boards already have all the resource they need.”