Making sure that men with prostate cancer receive the best treatment and care across the UK is one of our priorities. Over the last two years, we’ve been working alongside other cancer charities to influence the development of a cancer plan to improve cancer care for patients in Scotland. Here we explain what work has gone into the newly launched Scottish Cancer Plan, and how we will be working to make sure this results in better care for men with prostate cancer.
Today, the Scottish Government have published their plans for a new cancer strategy for NHS Scotland, called 'Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action'. They aim to make improvements in these key areas for people affected by cancer over the next decade:
If these aims sound familiar, it’s because we’ve said before that these are very much the kind of improvements we want to happen for men with prostate cancer.
We’ve been pushing for the development of a cancer plan in Scotland since 2014, in partnership with the other member charities involved in the Scottish Cancer Coalition.
In March 2014, the Scottish Cancer Coalition spoke with the then Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil MSP, about the development of a Scottish Cancer Plan, and it has been underway since then. The plan published today documents the achievements and learnings made since the publication of the Better Cancer Care plan in 2008 (and its 2010 update) as well as setting out a strategy for cancer care in Scotland going forward – similar to what has recently been launched in England.
We’re pleased to see that a number of the priorities laid out in the strategy tie in with our own strategies for men with prostate cancer. Our areas of focus for 2016 are to improve diagnosis of prostate cancer – both through funding research into a better diagnostic tool, and through our work on PSA Consensus and the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme. We are also working hard to improve treatment for men in a variety of ways, including a commitment to offering robot-assisted surgery in Scotland, reforming the way that new medicines become accessible on NHS Scotland, and offering extra support for those living with and beyond cancer, particularly those who suffer side effects such as erectile dysfunction. The plan also outlines an ambition from the Scottish Government to make sure that all people with cancer have access to a specialist nurse during and after their treatment - we know that the presence of a Clinical Nurse Specialist makes a substantial positive difference to the quality of cancer services experienced by patients, as well as relieving strain on other professionals, and will be working to help the Scottish Government achieve this ambition.
Catherine Winsor, Head of Improving Care at Prostate Cancer UK, commented: “It's encouraging to see that so many of the priorities in the newly launched Scottish Cancer Plan, are in line with our own priorities which are outlined in our newly launched strategy, ‘Ten Years to Tame Prostate Cancer'. Our priorities are based on both the latest evidence we have available and the experiences of men with prostate cancer, and so it’s vital that we incorporate these from the cancer plan into practice. We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to implement its new measures and approaches as soon as possible.”