This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs 'will need help over cancer'

A majority of GPs think they would need help from experts to commission the best cancer services for their area, research has found.

If the government's planned changes to the NHS are passed, 71% of GPs said they agree or strongly agree they will need specialist advice on cancer.

Even more - 82% - agree or strongly agree that their local doctors will need expert advice if they become responsible for commissioning, a survey of 800 GPs found.

Some 81% said they think radiotherapy should be commissioned at a regional or country-wide level, with 79% saying the same for cancer operations and 76% of that opinion on chemotherapy.

The research was done for a group of more than 40 cancer charities, which have joined together as the Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG) to raise concerns about treatment of the disease suffering in the reformed NHS.

Macmillan Cancer Support is on the CCG steering group. Chief Executive Ciaran Devane said: "GPs are telling us they will need specialist advice to commission cancer services so it's extremely worrying that the funding of the cancer networks that can provide this help is still under threat.

"Cancer is a set of highly complex diseases so it's vital GP consortia understand and are able to meet both the clinical and the longer-term needs of people living with or after cancer.

"The government can't leave cancer care to chance by not confirming permanent funding for cancer networks. Cancer patients need to know their care will not suffer because of the NHS reforms."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Cancer Campaigning Group