Harrogate rated as one of the country’s best for cancer care

Posted on: Tuesday 11 Oct 2016

NHS Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have welcomed an announcement that the local NHS has been rated as a ‘Top Performing’ on cancer care in a new Ofsted style rating system.

The local CCG who commission health services for the Harrogate and rural district were one of only seven CCGs nationally to achieve this rating out of the 209 CCGs assessed placing them in the top 3 per cent across England.

For the first time, health boards responsible for running NHS care in local areas have been assessed on four aspects of cancer care. These assessments are based on the proportion of patients diagnosed early, the number of patients given urgent referrals who start treatment within 62 days, one-year survival rates and overall patient experience.

This new rating system was introduced last year by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt over growing concerns that cancer survival rates in England were among the lowest in Western Europe.

Amanda Bloor, Chief Officer at Harrogate and Rural District CCG, said: “I’m pleased that cancer services commissioned by the CCG and delivered through our partners at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised as one of the best in the country. Approx. 350,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with cancer each year, with diagnosis rates growing by 12 per cent over the last 20 years. This is partly due to an ageing population, an increase in the number of people classed as obese, smoking and a lack of exercise.

“Cancer survival rates across Harrogate and the rural district are above the national average with 4 in 5 patients referred by their GP for cancer treatment seen within 62 days.”

Dr Sarah Hay, a local Harrogate GP and cancer lead for the CCG, said: “This is good news for the population of Harrogate and rural district and reflects the good outcomes we can be achieve when we combine well informed patients taking up screening invitations and acting on early warning symptoms, alongside high quality GPs and a high achieving local hospital.

“We are fortunate in Harrogate to have a high number of GPs and primary care has been supported by our local Macmillan GP Dr Sian Greenwood and CCG education to encourage early referral in line with the NICE 2015 guidance.  Our local hospital provides prompt treatment which is positively rated by patients for the care and support they have received. We are continuing to work closely with local GPs, the CCG and the hospital to develop guidance and referral forms for cancer, to try to ensure even more people are referred early.”

92% of patients when questioned about their cancer treatment experience across Harrogate and the rural district rated their treatment positively. The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre at Harrogate District Hospital opened in 2014 provides state-of-the art facilities for people affected by cancer in North Yorkshire. The centre replaced the outpatient haematology and chemotherapy unit at the hospital and means many patients in Harrogate no longer have to travel to Leeds or York for their treatment.

Dr Ros Tolcher, Chief Executive at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said “I am delighted that the combined skill and commitment of local GPs and the Trust is reflected in achieving these results. “We’re really proud of our cancer services – which include the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre – and this rating reflects the high quality care and support we provide to patients and their families. In the NHS England National Cancer Patient Survey published in July Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust was the top-rated provider nationally. We have a passionate workforce who provide excellent cancer care and this news is testament to their hard work and professionalism.”