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.’

This is an outrageously misleading statement. Neither sentence is true. The Nuffield terms of reference make no reference to exploring an underpinning ‘clinical model’ (such as ‘co-location’ or ‘stand-alone’). Rather Nuffield says it’s simply examining the risks and benefits ‘of the proposed integrated network model’ which connects contributors to cancer care. But this scheme was long founded on the deficient ‘stand-alone’ clinical model. Therefore the Letter to WCRC with its call to ‘co-locate’ could not, as claimed, have played any great part in Nuffield’s ‘consideration’ or ‘conclusion’. The Letter’s still waiting for Welsh Government to address its challenge.

A blunt reply to Velindre bosses and to Velindre Matters:-

1. Velindre and TCS had control over the terms of reference of the Nuffield Trust report. These served them very well in completely constricting any discussion of co-location and therefore of the Letter to WCRC
2. The Letter may well have been seen by Nuffield, but was not admissible as relevant evidence due to the cleverly constructed terms of reference. So sight of the letter says nothing about the Letter’s relevance now.
3. Those terms of reference were such that they compromised the Nuffield project’s ability to discuss co-location as an option. But Nuffield did an amazing job by including the main points as an Appendix (not part of the Report’s consideration and conclusion).

What’s more:

  • Nuffield recommended what was most naturally a process leaning towards final co-location (see pages 38, 39).  By accepting research collaboration with UHW Velindre has already accepted that its cancer centre will not lead research in South East Wales – unless it ultimately becomes fully co-located at UHW, a process Velindre managers have now cut dead.
  • The managers have accepted as a destination what Nuffield meant as only the journey. They have camped on the highway to co-location and told the travellers this is the Hilton they expected for the next forty years. Ten years to reach this? No, it’s time for a change of direction and proper leadership of cancer care. Nuffield said that too.
  • Therefore the sobering letter from the experts still remains on the table demanding a response. Its case roundly dismisses all ‘stand-alone’ models for a cancer centre like the one approved by Welsh Government. The EA Board’s message must be complied with to reach world-class cancer care for the whole nation. No excuses. No if’s or but’s. This is a letter continuing to knock on the door of government demanding a change of direction before it’s too late and a cancer disaster is upon us – with a half-billion price tag hanging from it.