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Cancer care is improving, says NAO

Improvements and efficiencies have been made in key areas of cancer care since the Cancer Reform Strategy was published in 2007, according to an National Audit Office (NAO) report which was published today.


However, the report also warned that a lack of high quality information on costs of cancer services and their outcomes inhibits substantial further improvements. The performances of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) still vary significantly, the report went on to say, and there is scope for greater efficiencies, worth hundreds of millions of pounds each year, in the delivery of care.


[quote bottom=said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO] The Department of Health's strong direction and high profile leadership has resulted in improved cancer services in key areas. Further improvement depends, to a significant degree, on raising standards of practice around the country up to the best. A key factor in driving this is a much improved approach to information on cancer services. [/quote]


The NAO estimates that cancer cost the NHS approximately £6.3bn in 2008-09, but the Department of Health has limited assurance as to whether the implementation of the Strategy is achieving value for money. Reported spending on cancer care apparently inexplicably fluctuates between PCTs - in 2008-09 it varied from £55 to £154 per head.