Published: 15/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5986 Page 29

Cancer treatment capacity concerns

Cancer specialists and charities have warned that patient access to treatment will be blocked at the point of drug administration unless the government takes immediate action to tackle the lack of capacity in the NHS.

The Cancer Capacity Coalition report Optimising Service Capacity to Meet Demand for Cancer Drug Treatment Delivery highlights mounting concerns over the ability of services to cope with cancer rate increases and an accompanying rise in drug treatment.

It recommends measures to maximise capacity in the context of service reforms, planning models and treatment targets.

It says that patient choice, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance implementation and current cancer survival rates could all suffer if resource provision falls short of demand.

The report also identifies barriers to capacity-saving treatments. These include payment by results, which they say threatens revenues to acute trusts that switch from intravenous to oral therapy.

Recovery diary for cardiac patients

Cardiac patients are set to benefit from a diary that helps them monitor their recovery and share health information with professionals.

Funding for the diary comes from the British Heart Foundation following an evaluation of its use by the Tavistock Institute during a pilot study in Cambridgeshire.

Patients using the diary feel easier about asking for blood pressure readings and find that referring to their entries - which often describe important emotional responses as well as more conventional clinical data - improves the quality of their interactions with practice nurses.

Copies of the diary are available from the British Heart Foundation through education project manager Julia England on 020-7487 9488.

Osteoporosis booklet updates treatments

Trends in Osteoporosis is a new resource offering guidance to physicians faced with the challenge of preventing fractures in a disease that affects one in three women and one in five men over 50.

The booklet contains an overview of the condition, discussion of the part that osteoporosis should play in primary care trusts' strategic commissioning planning and advice on developments in treatment and NICE guidelines.

The high prevalence of the disease in older people and the need for comprehensive risk assessment is also highlighted.

Trends in Osteoporosis is designed to be updated regularly to keep clinicians in touch with advances in treatment and relevant policy matters.

Patient case studies and NICE secondary prevention guidance are incorporated as removable update cards.

For a free copy e-mail trends@nbgroup. co. uk