This conversation is fictitious. But free of alternative facts.
‘North Cardiff doesn’t know it. Cancer patients don’t know it. Many cancer clinicians throughout Wales don’t know it. Even you, a rookie reporter, don’t know it. ‘
‘Uh? Know what’?
‘How the New Velindre Cancer Centre became destined for a strange location. We should run the story at the weekend. People just don’t know that the Government, around 2015, instructed the Velindre Board to build its new Cancer Centre on a ‘stand-alone’ site. You know, not at a big hospital (1).’
‘But even I know that building a new Cancer Centre at a distance is, well, antique. And shouldn’t those things be decided by external clinical reviews and big consults?’
‘There you go. But no. The Velindre Board got its orders at the start- the Centre had to be built in Whitchurch on Velindre land or it wouldn’t get the money. And so the New Velindre was born – the only Cancer Centre in Wales behind the times. The only one not safely tucked in at a big hospital. And so the preferred Welsh practice is set aside by politicians, it seems.’
‘Wow, now that is a bit of a mystery, and I really can’t-‘
‘And something else. Velindre’s own Strategic Outline Programme at the time didn’t help. No evidence of any survey of the region’s many senior doctors before they started. Clinical meetings and discussions all done at Velindre (2).
‘But doesn’t Velindre treat only a small share of cancer patients in the region? Wider soundings needed out there about the best location, no? We clapped them all.’
‘Damned right, we did. But then again, think about this. Welsh Government isn’t fussed that there’s been no external, independent clinical review either. So it did the wrap-up itself on the matter of best location and strangely it opted for the obsolete kind.’
‘Gulp. Not needed for a Cancer Centre! Is that going down well, then?’
‘Not with almost all clinicians. But there you go, Government says everything’s impartially considered. Which brings me to what you’ve got on that impartial board of advisors?’
‘Took some digging out, I’ll tell you. Well, it’s not awash with clinicians, except for the CMO occasionally. It’s no clinical review. More a board of officers in the service of the First Minister and Cabinet. Finance, Human Resources, Policy alignment and that kind of thing. Senior officers in Welsh Government. Always fine people on the ‘Infrastructure Investment Board’ I’m told.’
‘Of course. But that’s likely to be seen as impartial? I’ll bet none of them would expect to be thanked for getting a Government’s prior decision second-guessed by a hoity toity, expert, independent clinical panel, eh?’
‘Well, I suppose that mystery’s cleared up. Sort of.’
‘Oh, I think that ping was for you.’
‘So it is.’
‘We’ll digest the evidence before publishing any more of this. But very, very slowly.
Transforming Cancer Services (New Velindre) Programme Business Case 2017
1.2.1 The Welsh Government, during 2015, approved the Trust’s Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) for the delivery of Cancer Services in the South East Wales. The approval of the SOP resulted in the establishment of the Transforming Cancer Services programme…(more)
1.2.2 The funding arrangement attached to the approval of the SOP also included a number of conditions as follows.
- The entire nVCC should be built in Whitchurch, Cardiff and on land under the ownership of the Trust.
- The nVCC should be clinically operational during 2022/2023; and the capital costs set at 2013/14 prices.
1.2.3 The funding conditions set out above are important within the context of this Programme as they have restricted the range and scope of options which can be considered as part of the economic case.
(to be continued)
- Velindre NHS Trust Transforming Cancer Services Programme Business Case: Economic Section 1.2 p E4 of E43 http://www.transformingcancerservices.wales/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Confidential-Programme-Business-Case-for-Transforming-Cancer-Services-MARK-UP_Redacted-FINAL.pdf
- Velindre NHS Trust Transforming Cancer Services Strategic Outline Programme Economic Case p137, Section 3.9.3 http://Strategic-Outline-Programme-Redacted.pdf (transformingcancerservices.wales)