Tessa Munt – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Tessa Munt on 2014-07-15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, for what reasons NHS England is instructing hospitals with patients presenting as clinically urgent to treat such patients with innovative radiotherapy at the hospital’s financial risk while it decides whether to fund the patient; and how hospitals which have followed that instruction receive reimbursement for that expenditure if NHS England subsequently refuses to fund the treatment.

Jane Ellison

NHS England is an independent arm’s length body and since 1 April 2013, it has been responsible for commissioning all radiotherapy services, including stereotactic radiosurgery. Gamma Knife treatment has been available to all patients who meet clinical criteria, without the need for individual funding requests, under NHS England’s national clinical commissioning policies for specialised services.

University College London Hospitals is not contracted by NHS England, nor was it contracted by former primary care trusts, to provide Gamma Knife services. It is for this reason that National Health Service patients cannot normally be treated at this facility. Instead, NHS patients requiring Gamma Knife treatment should be treated by the Gamma Knife services commissioned by the NHS, that have been shown to meet NHS England service specifications. These can be accessed by patients in London without a waiting time, fully maintaining the continuity of their care and normally with the same consultant and clinical team.

All patients need to be treated in accordance with the prescribed clinical pathways and in line with contractual agreements with providers.