Why the silence?
Colocate Velindre has consistently put the case for co-location of the New Velindre Cancer Centre on an acute hospital site. All the evidence from Cancer Centres elsewhere in the UK, including the rest of Wales, shows that colocated centres deliver safer, more joined-up care to cancer patients when they so desperately need it.
We know that the New Velindre leaders are committed to the calamitous stand-alone build. They’ve tried to reassure us that somehow the New Velindre will overcome the dangers of its remote site in a way that other Cancer Centres haven’t been able to. These reassurances have time and again proved hollow- remember the Barrett report? https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/clinical-letter-to-ministers-point-1-the-barrett-report/Transfer times of ‘minutes’ for the ‘less than ten patients per year‘ needing emergency transfer https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/clinical-letter-to-ministers-4/
However, we’ve heard nothing from the clinicians who’ll be delivering the services in the new Cancer Centre.
Who will make the case for New Velindre?
New Velindre leaders have tried, and failed, to convince us that a stand-alone Centre can deliver care as safely as a colocated Centre. This is hardly surprising, as the evidence simply doesn’t support them. https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/eminent-clinical-reviewers-on-velindres-plans/
They’ve tried celebrity endorsements. When Dr Laura McClelland was interviewed on ITV News last month, New Velindre leaders opted not to provide evidence based counter-arguments from a clinician of equal standing. Instead, a well-known harpist spoke for the Trust. Her stance was personal and emotive but it did not provide a scientific appraisal of the model of care and associated safety issues. Would the National Orchestra of Wales have asked Dr McClelland for her views on the layout of musicians? It’s unlikely because she is not a musician and aside her own personal experience of attending performances, she has no knowledge of orchestra arrangement. She wouldn’t expect to be taken seriously on the subject.
Many other celebrities have also supported the stand-alone model. All of these people have a right to their opinions. There is no doubt that they, like many of us at Colocate, feel deep gratitude to Velindre’s staff for the care they have shown them and their relatives when they needed it. But to the best of our knowledge, none is qualified to critically appraise the evidence surrounding models of cancer care in today’s NHS.
What about the clinicians?
The only people truly qualified to compare the safety of the two models are the clinicians delivering cancer care day in and day out. 163 senior clinicians wrote to the Health Minister last year expressing their concerns for patient safety. Senior Velindre staff wrote to their Chief Executive expressing the same concerns. To the best of Colocate Velindre’s knowledge, no clinicians have been prepared to speak out to support the plans in a similar way. Their silence speaks volumes.