Specialist treatment for children with cancer in south London and much of south east England is led by a children’s cancer Principal Treatment Centre, which is currently jointly run by The Royal Marsden in Sutton and St. George’s Hospital in Tooting. The Principal Treatment Centre diagnoses, treats and coordinates cancer care for children aged one to 15 in Kent, Medway, south London, most of Surrey, East Sussex, Brighton and Hove. In 2019/20, 456 children received inpatient paediatric oncology care at The Royal Marsden and 208 at St George's.
National standards have been published which set out how children’s cancer services must be organised and delivered across the country in the future. Among other things, they require Principal Treatment Centres to be on the same site as a paediatric intensive care unit and other specialised children’s services relevant to children’s cancer care, such as paediatric surgery. This is because children being treated for cancer are sometimes at risk of needing to be transferred urgently to an intensive care unit. With future, cutting-edge treatments being developed for children with cancer, intensive care and other specialised children’s services will increasingly be required to be on-site.
The Royal Marsden does not have a paediatric intensive care unit on-site which means that some children are currently safely transferred between the Sutton site and St George’s Hospital every year. To ensure that children with cancer continue to get world-leading care in London as new innovative forms of specialist treatment are increasingly used, these arrangements need to change.
Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have both submitted proposals to become the Principal Treatment Centre in future, providing all the required services on one site. NHS England - London needs to decide which of them will best deliver future-ready, world- class care for children with cancer. Both options scored highly in an evaluation and will be taken forward for a public consultation in the summer. In preparation for that, NHS England - London is asking for your group’s help to ensure our consultation is as effective as possible in gathering feedback.
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Please note: cancer services provided in hospitals across the catchment area formally known as Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Units are not involved in or affected by this change.
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