• NHS England announces seven year contracts for stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy
  • Change aims to increase access to services and cutting per patient cost of treatments
  • East and North Hertfordshire Trust to be decommissioned

NHS England has announced which organisations have won contracts under its overhaul of specialist radiotherapy services.

The seven year contracts are for stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy – two services which use focused beams of radiation to treat brain tumours.

NHS England has been working on an overhaul of the services for several years to try to ensure that centres have the right “critical mass” of patients and that machines are not needlessly idle.

The national body estimates the changes will result in more than 6,200 patients receiving treatments by 2018-19, compared to just over 2,400 in 2014-15.

Increasing the throughput of patients will mean that treatment will be delivered for “significantly less that they would cost at current per patient prices”, NHS England said.

Improving access will also mean fewer patients will have to undergo more invasive and costly treatments such as surgery.

Lead providers have been selected for 16 of the 17 contract lots (see box, below). A provider is yet to be confirmed for Thames Valley.

The contract winners

Tiers one and two

  • Merseyside and Cheshire – The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
  • Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria – Salford Royal Foundation Trust
  • North of England (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Cumbria) – Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust.
  • East Riding of Yorkshire and South Yorkshire – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • West Yorkshire – Nova Healthcare
  • East Midlands (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire) – Nottingham University Hospitals Trust
  • Pan Birmingham, Arden and Greater Midlands (West Midlands, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire) – University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust
  • Anglia (Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) – Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Essex – Barts Health Trust
  • Thames Valley – TBC
  • Peninsula, Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire and Dorset – University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust
  • Central South Coast – University Hospitals Southampton Foundation Trust
  • North London and East and North Hertfordshire – Imperial College Healthcare Trust
  • North and North West London – University College Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • East London – Barts Health Trust
  • South Central London – Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust
  • South London, Kent and East Sussex – The Royal Marsden Foundation Trust

Tiers three and four – national centres

  • North and Midlands – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • London, South and South West – University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust

Tiers three and four – paediatric national centres

  • North and Midlands – Nova Healthcare
  • London, South and South West – University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust

There will also be three national centres of excellence providing specialist services for children and adults with rare and complex conditions.

In the North and Midlands, the adult services will be delivered by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and paediatric services will be provided by Nova Healthcare, the private patient cancer facility of the Leeds Cancer Centre.

For the London, South and South West patch both sets of services will be provided by University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Jonathan Fielden, NHS England’s specialised services director, said: “This is another example of how NHS England is working hard to achieve better services and outcomes for patients at the same time as better value for the health service.”

While in most cases existing providers will continue to deliver services under the lead provider, one NHS centre – East and North Hertfordshire Trust’s Mount Vernon Cancer Centre – will be decommissioned. Imperial College Healthcare Trust will cover the North London and East and North Hertfordshire patch.

An East and North Hertfordshire Trust spokesman said: “As the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre developed the first stereotactic radiotherapy service using a CyberKnife in the NHS some six years ago, the trust is disappointed not to have been commissioned to provide stereotactic radiotherapy for advanced brain cancers going forward.

“It is anticipated that the impact of lost activity will be offset by increased referrals being received for lung, metastatic disease (other than brain) and liver cancers.”