We have consistently called for an independent review of the Velindre stand-alone model. Many people think that the Nuffield Trust have already carried out an independent review of the Velindre model, and approved it. Velindre would certainly like you to believe this. There are just two problems:

  • The Nuffield Trust didn’t carry out a review of the model, and
  • they didn’t approve it.

What did the Nuffield Trust do?

The Nuffield Trust are a very highly regarded independent health think tank. This blog does not set out to criticise the Nuffield Trust. Velindre appointed them to provide ”advice on the proposed model for non-surgical tertiary oncology services in South East Wales”. Velindre Cancer Centre forms one part of the service, but it isn’t the only thing the Nuffield Trust looked at.

Nuffield were also very clear in their report https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/project/independent-advice-to-velindre-nhs-university-trust

that they did not carry out an independent review of the project, and that the siting of the new Cancer Centre was outside their remit.

Why did Velindre decide to take advice from Nuffield Trust?

Velindre had resisted calls for an independent clinical review of their stand-alone Cancer centre for months. They finally announced that they had appointed the Nuffield Trust in an email. They sent the email to members of Welsh Government’s Petitions Committee at 8.59am on the very day the Committee was meeting to discuss a petition to calling for an independent review of the model. The Committee’s meeting was due to start at 9am- one minute after Velindre’s announcement. We think this is an amazing coincidence!

What did Velindre ask the Nuffield to do?

It’s very important to look carefully at what Velindre asked Nuffield to do. Nuffield had no authority to act beyond answering the brief they were set by Velindre.

Velindre asked Nuffield to ‘provide independent advice on the integrated regionally networked model, including analysis and assessment of the benefits and risks of the proposed model of networked cancer care in South East Wales.’

Velindre specifically asked Nuffield to :

  • look at the ‘risks inherent in the proposed integrated network model- including the location of the main specialist cancer centre, the new Velindre Cancer Centre, on an area in Whitchurch known as the Northern Meadows...., and
  • are the strategies proposed to manage those risks satisfactory?

What were Nuffield NOT asked to do

Nuffield were never asked to review the stand- alone model. They weren’t asked to recommend it or propose an alternative. To do so would have been outside their remit. We’ll look at how the Nuffield worked within these constraints, and at their report and conclusions in future blogs.