Last month, the Independent Cancer Taskforce published its report, setting out a strategy for improving cancer outcomes in England over the next five years. The Taskforce chaired by Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, had a membership that represented a cross section of the cancer and health community, including Richard Stephens, the NCRI Consumer Lead, as a patient representative. The report encompasses a large number of recommendations but proposes 6 strategic priorities.

1.    A renewed focus on prevention and public health.
2.    A national ambition to achieve earlier diagnosis.
3.    Establishing patient experience as being on par with clinical effectiveness and safety.
4.    Transforming support for people living with and beyond cancer.
5.    Investing in modern high-quality services.
6.    Overhauling the way the NHS commissions and provides services.

The new cancer strategy has been welcomed across the cancer research community, the consensus being that support from the government together with the NHS and investment commitment is necessary to make the strategy a reality. NHS England has been vocal in its support of the strategy, and committed to provide regular updates on progress.

The NCRI Executive will work with NCRI Partners and the wider research community to look at how research and research funders can feed into supporting it.

» Read the cancer taskforce report (Cancer Research UK webpage)

You can also view responses to the Taskforce report on some of our Partners’ websites:

» Breast Cancer Now
» Cancer Research UK
» Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research
» Macmillan Cancer Support
» Department of Health, NHS England
» Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

A patient-focused strategy with input from the NCRI Consumer Forum

As well as the NCRI Consumer Lead, Richard Stephens, being a member of the taskforce that produced the strategy, other NCRI Consumer Forum members also made important contributions to the formulation of the strategy – including participation in the three patient workshops held as part of the series of stakeholder engagement workshops and meetings that fed in to the creation of the strategy.

Richard Stephens says “The strategy is very patient-focussed and the three patient workshops were very influential on our thinking. NCRI Consumer Forum members and other patients and carers too all stressed the importance of embedding research opportunities as part of the wider patient choice agenda, which echoes the Forum’s published findings from the last three National Cancer Patient Experience Surveys (NCPES) surveys. I am very pleased that the strategy includes a specific recommendation on the topic.”

The specific recommendation that Richard is referring to is Recommendation 50 which states that ‘NHS England should ensure commissioners and providers are incentivised to maintain the UK’s world-leading position in cancer studies and applied health research. This should ensure that as many patients as possible have the opportunity to be part of a study, including in smaller stratified trials.’

» Find out more about the NCRI Consumer Forum (internal webpage)