MP wins fight for improved cancer treatment in the region
cancer treatment is on its way to the region after years in which
the region has lagged behind the rest of the UK.
NHS Englands decision to extend trials of advanced stereotatic
radiotherapy (SABR) follows a hard-fought campaign by Burnham-On-Sea's
MP Tessa Munt and England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio.
SABR is a more precise type of radiotherapy which delivers high
doses of radiation while causing less damage to healthy tissue
than conventional radiotherapy. Until now access to patients in
the South West had been non-existent.
The trials are part of NHS Englands five year plan for
the improvement of cancer treatment. The £15 million, three-year
evaluation programme will increase by 750 the number of patients
who can be treated each year.
The cancers treated will broaden to include oligometastatic disease
(cancer that has spread to another part of the body), primary
liver tumours, spinal tumours, the re-irradiation of cancers in
the pelvis and other selected indications.
The investment is in addition to NHS Englands pledge to
fund up to £6 million over the next five years to cover
the NHS treatment costs of SABR clinical trials led by Cancer
The new programme will begin in April. The guaranteed patient
funding will also facilitate the development of SABR dedicated
centres of excellence in the regions.
Tessa Munt, who has campaigned since 2010 to improve access to
SABR treatment, said it is vital that such a centre is established
in the region.
At the beginning of last year she joined forces with Mr Dallaglio
and Nick van As, senior cancer consultant from the Royal Marsden
Hospital, to place pressure on the Government to act.
Together they lobbied the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy
Hunt; met with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and in
December 2014 they sat down with the Chief Executive Officer of
NHS England, Simon Stevens, to demand action.
Tessa told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Ive asked over 300
parliamentary questions on this issue and at times it has felt
like I was banging my head against a brick wall; it was very frustrating
but I knew I was right. Radiotherapy is the way forward, its
less intrusive, more effective and much cheaper, yet NHS England
continued to prioritise spending on expensive drugs. Im
pleased to say this announcement finally puts this right."