A coalition of 29 cancer charities has produced a consultation green paper urging the government to create a new national cancer plan.

A coalition of 29 cancer charities has produced a consultation green paper urging the government to create a new national cancer plan.

The first NHS cancer plan was produced in 2000 and the Cancer Campaigning Group argues that it is 'showing its age'.

The consultation will feed views from professionals and the public into a 'white paper' set to be published by the group in early 2007. It will be presented to the Department of Health as evidence of the need for a new plan.

Proposals in the 'green paper' include a greater role for cancer networks in co-ordinating commissioning, as the group argues that 'primary care trusts do not have the experience or expertise to commission services for cancer effectively'.

It also calls for the creation of an 'innovations budget' to assist PCTs in paying for new drugs which are licensed and/or receive guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence after annual drugs budgets are set.

And the paper suggests GPs could be rewarded under the quality and outcomes framework for measures such as keeping a register of at-risk patients.

Other ideas include basing part of the payment by results tariff on patient satisfaction or other quality measures.

The paper says a 'culture change' is needed in the way patients are involved in care which puts them at the centre of decision-making. 'People with cancer often say it is their tumour, rather than themselves, which is being treated,' it says.

Cancer Research UK medical director Professor John Toy told HSJthe current plan was 'beginning to show its age'. He said cancer services 'need an atmosphere in which choice is expected'.

He added: 'There is a lot of fundamental basic work to do to ensure everybody, regardless of their address, will get treatment.'

And Breakthrough Breast Cancer chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: 'The green paper is all about encouraging the debate.'

The consultation ends on 10 Novemember.
www.cancercampaigninggroup.org.uk