Key to cancer care is closer chemo

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Thousands of cancer patients in need of chemotherapy could receive treatment closer to home under new plans revealed by the NHS.

An NHS England programme led by specialist pharmacists reduces variation in drug doses and is expected to create substantial savings. The NHS plans to reinvest these in patient care over the coming years.

Chemotherapy accounts for an estimated £1.4 billion a year – almost a tenth of the entire central budget – and represents the single biggest spend within NHS England’s Specialised Commissioning.

NHS England now hopes to reduce variation and wastage in chemotherapy by implementing a national system of ‘dose banding’, where patients will receive optimised doses of drugs, rather than individually calculated measures.

Cally Palmer CBE, NHS England’s National Cancer Director, said: “By embracing this approach, providers can support patients to receive chemo at appropriate times and in places which are more convenient for them.”