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Thanks to all our supporters!

We set up the Colocate Velindre website just two weeks ago. We wanted to share the strongly worded letter of warning from the Wales Cancer Research Centre’s External Advisory Board as widely as possible.

We’ll continue share facts about the weakness of Velindre’s plans and their impact on our future cancer services in Wales, and give updates on our campaign.

How are we doing?

The campaign, and the website, have been well received.

The website has had up to 500 hundred hits per day. We’ve also had many emails of support. Sadly, many people working in the NHS have asked for anonymity as they fear for the impact on their careers if their opposition to the plans becomes known.

We’ve had coverage in the South Wales Echo and Western Mail, as well as Wales Online https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/velindre-cardiff-cancer-hospital-plan-21575745?fbclid=IwAR1vpkCtKZyJYMbFep3CVQ8yOBkRagAP_bH3gjgLmJQFbj-OpD6UYQzvTIg

and The National Wales https://www.thenational.wales/environment/19588501.legal-challenge-new-velindre-cancer-centre/?fbclid=IwAR2WwBM9bv4m49wiO2tpZj7a-5sdH0LCTSCHSEt9aI6fvdiuHqC1pXzRi4g

in the articles, Professor Neil Burnet, the Chair of the External Advisory Board, makes it clear that he is far from reassured by Velindre’s response to his letter, as in his view cancer centres work much better if they’re co-located with a big general hospital.

Our work goes on

We’ll continue to expose the weakness of Velindre’s plans, and provide new information as it becomes available. For instance, you’ll be able to watch a clinician explain her concerns on ITV Wales News at 6pm on Wednesday 22 September.

If you’d like to be involved, or just show your support, please get in touch at

colocatevelindre@gmail.com

Clinical Letter to Ministers

We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site.

Letter signed by 163 Senior Clinicians.

After the Nuffield Trust published their advice on the risks of the stand alone model, 163 senior clinicians wrote to the Health Minister to draw his attention to their continuing significant concerns. There is a link to the full text of the letter at the top of this page.

Some quotes from the letter

  • ‘we agree that co-location with an acute hospital would provide safer in-patient care, improve support from other specialities, create a better base for research and be in line with best practice elsewhere.’
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Clinical Letter to Ministers

We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site.

Failure to fully engage the other stakeholder Local Health Boards in the planning process:

Both the Nuffield report and the minutes of the Health Social Care and Sports Committee meeting held on 30/09/2020   [https://record.assembly.wales/Committee/6443] discuss the quality of engagement.

The Nuffield Trust report makes the following points about the Transforming Cancer Services Programme

  • A strong emphasis on care closer to home and the design of care around the patient’s need.
  • Enhanced care within the Local Health Boards (LHB).
  • Three or more Velindre@ specialist units supported by VCC, providing a range of ambulatory cancer services within LHB sites and working closely with local services.
  • A VCC satellite radiotherapy unit at Abergavenny.
  • A new VCC including acute care and providing the Velindre@ for the Cardiff & Vale LHB.
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There really is a clinical consensus on co-location

We’re disturbed at so many questionable mantras offered for the New Velindre project. So we’re going to challenge some of them. Let’s start with this one:

 ‘Of course clinicians are going to split 50-50 on this cancer-centre issue aren’t they?’

 Well, no they do not. Our post, Eminent Clinical Reviewers on Velindre’s Plans is a letter intended to guide cancer research in all of Wales and it embodies clear received practice in the entire UK.  That practice is all but exclusively ‘co-location’. In Wales the picture’s simple too – mainly Velindre’s leading clinical managers versus the rest (i.e. Velindre versus Swansea and all points north). It’s true. See the post: Letter from 163 Senior Clinicians. So Velindre’s clinical managers versus the rest – that’s not 50-50 is it? More like 5-95.

Scared that a cancer centre at a hospital might lack the calmness a specialist cancer centre needs?

The Appendix 1 to the Nuffield Advice for Velindre reassured everyone that ‘the specialist unit can still retain a distinct identity’ and ‘building’, even ‘a separate organisational form’. First-class treatment and service provision (see About Us) but also the calm and quietness of a specialised cancer centre. If cancer patients don’t receive all of this – well you know who to blame.

Your hopes for a world class cancer centre can still be snatched from destruction.

But only if you act now.

It’s a mere 10-15 minutes task. All you do is send a 3-sentence email to your Senedd members for both constituency and region. You can google ‘Senedd Members’ for e-mail addresses.

 The first sentence expresses your deep concern personally at this Project. 

The second sentence merely urges the MS to visit http://colocate-velindre.co.uk/ to get the real story on Velindre. The second sentence asks the MS to go on and read the short but stunning post: Eminent Clinical Reviewers on Velindre’s Plans and if possible the 13thSeptember posts.

The third sentence should be your name and address (postcode as a minimum) as many MS will only deal with correspondence from their own constituents.

BUT THEN please print out your e-mail message and deliver or post it 1st class to the MS c/o of their local party office. This might just by-pass any gatekeeping and stalling.

 To modify a famous line – all it’s left now for bad to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

We call for Independent Clinical Review

Clinicians concerned about the future of cancer care in South East Wales have repeatedly called for an independent clinical review of the stand-alone model. Velindre and Transforming Cancer Services have responded by claiming the model has been reviewed, implying that Dr Jane Barrett reviewed the model, and that the advice from the Nuffield Trust was a review, but to date NO external clinical review of the model has taken place.

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Clinical Letter to Ministers

We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting sections of the letter on this site.

Misrepresentation / Suppression of the level of concern within the Velindre NHS Trust:

In the document “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?”   Velindre make the following statement:

“Our plans for providing specialist, non-surgical cancer services for people across south east Wales have the support of health board clinicians, our staff and patients”

Both TCS (Transforming Cancer Services) and the Velindre NHS Trust will have been aware of the level of concern expressed by a significant number of its senior doctors and nurses.

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Clinical Letter to Ministers

We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site. 

Misrepresentation of the transfer times for patients requiring urgent escalation of care:

A major weakness of the stand-alone model is the need to urgently transfer acutely unwell patients for care that can’t be provided on the remote Velindre site.

In their document “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?” Velindre say:

“UHW is less than three miles away and can be reached within minutes.”

The statement as it reads is very reassuring, the reality, less so.

We submitted a freedom of information request to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) requesting information on transfer times. We asked about how long patients were waiting before the ambulance arrived, how long the journey took and how long patients waited at UHW (University Hospital of Wales) before handover. They told us….

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Dr Frank Atherton: Chief Medical Officer (Wales)

Dr Frank Atherton at the Health Social Care and Sports Committee meeting held on 30/09/2020 at 09:42:50 Dr Atherton states:-


“I think perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, having made the decision by the health boards to go ahead with the construction of the new Velindre cancer centre back in 2018, perhaps that clinical engagement should have continued, and that’s perhaps allowed—that perhaps didn’t happen as much as it needed to.”

Clinical Letter to Ministers

We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site.

Misrepresentation of Patient numbers transferred for urgent escalation of care unavailable at the current Velindre site:

The concern here is that the figures quoted by the Velindre NHS Trust are incorrect, misleading and falsely reassuring to the general public. More worrying is the intention to replicate this current model of care at the proposed New Velindre Cancer Centre on the Northern Meadows.

 What do Velindre say?

In the document  “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?”  Velindre say:

“fewer than thirty patients a year on average need an unplanned emergency transfer.”

What are the actual numbers of transfers?

We submitted a Freedom of Information enquiry to WAST (Welsh Ambulance Service Trust)  and they provided us with the raw data on ambulance transfers. 

On average around 100 patients are transferred each year using the 999 Ambulance system. These are urgent transfers for escalation of care that is not available at Velindre Hospital.

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Clinical Letter to Ministers

The Barrett report: 

In the document produced by the Velindre NHS Trust “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?” the following statement is made:

 “The clinical lead in an external review of the project, carried out in 2017, was Dr Jane Barrett OBE, an eminent UK clinical oncologist and past President of the Royal College of Radiologists.”

This statement is clearly refuted in an email from Dr Barrett herself, wherein it is stated:

“You are correct that I was involved in the review into the siting of satellite centres in South Wales. However it was not a review into the redevelopment of Velindre.”

Dr Jane Barrett obe
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The Disturbing Letter

Awareness is spreading of the letter sent to the Wales Cancer Research Group (WCRC) from its External Advisory Group and opposing a ‘stand-alone’ cancer centre. Velindre managers have not shown much joy about this.

They have tried to play down the Letter’s significance. They’ve claimed that Nuffield provided ‘advice on the clinical model underpinning non-surgical oncology services in South East Wales. The issues raised in the letter were taken into consideration by the Nuffield Trust in reaching its conclusion.’

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