Jim Cunningham – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Cunningham on 2014-05-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many strategic clinical networks currently have a breast network site-specific group; and how many times each such group met in 2013-14.

Jane Ellison

The requirement for the provision of site-specific groups (SSGs), such as those for breast cancer, is written into national cancer peer review requirements. In consultation with strategic clinical networks (SCNs), NHS England has developed an SCN framework. The framework reiterates the role and importance of clinical networking groups as support for the commissioning process, but allows for local agreement to how those groups are supported.

There are 12 SCNs and we would expect all to have a breast network SSG. This will be evidenced by the annual report published for the SCN and relevant area team. The National Peer Review Programme “Manual for Cancer Services; Breast Cancer Measures” states that network groups should meet regularly.

The Review Programme further states that the network group should produce an annual work programme in discussion with the SCN and agreed with the director of the relevant Area Team. It should include details of any planned service developments and should specify the personnel responsible and the timescales for implantation. The SSGs also develop protocols for the treatment of patients within the SCN and agree audits and research projects that will be supported.

The Review Programme also states that network groups should meet regularly. It gives guidance on the roles that should be represented on the group but not numbers.

We do not hold information on how many breast network SSGs existed and how many times each group met prior to April 2013.