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Norfolk hospital has global ambitions for cancer care standard as demand is set to rise

Matt Keeling, left, NNUH cancer manager, and Vivekanandan Kumar, consultant urological surgeon and cancer clinical lead. Photo: Kieron Tovell

Matt Keeling, left, NNUH cancer manager, and Vivekanandan Kumar, consultant urological surgeon and cancer clinical lead. Photo: Kieron Tovell

Kieron Tovell

World-class cancer care on your doorstep.

That was the ambitious vision set out at the region’s busiest hospital as it launched a challenging strategy to fight the evil disease.

Already the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is one of the largest cancer centres in England using cutting edge techniques such as robotic surgery.

But yesterday it was revealed the trust has global success in its sights. And it is hoped earlier diagnoses, more patients taking part in clinical trials, and better care beyond cancer will help turn the hospital into world-class centre of excellence for treating the disease.

It comes as experts predict demand for cancer services is only going to rise over coming years. At the NNUH annual general meeting yesterday, statistics from Public Health Norfolk showed the NNUH would need an extra 50,000 appointments for those with suspected cancer by 2025.

Already more than 2,000 patients every month are referred to the hospital for suspected cancer - with 27,400 over the last year. Of those, around 6,000 cancer diagnoses were made and 9,200 treatments given.

NNUH cancer manager Matt Keeling said: “We want diagnoses as early as possible so that their outcome is better. The cancer strategy is about how we are going to meet that challenge.”

As part of the plan, the hospital set itself six objectives in line with national targets on cancer and local predictions. But underpinning the whole scheme was input from multidisciplinary teams, clinicians and organisations such as the Big C and Macmillan.

Consultant urological surgeon and cancer clinical lead Vivekanandan Kumar said they were aiming to “reach the top of what we can deliver nationally within the NHS”.

He added: “Research says that now one in two of us, at some point in our lives, will be affected by a cancer diagnosis. This therefore means we need to increase the amount of treatments we can deliver to our local population.”

But Mr Keeling was keen to stress this was not just about those in Norwich. He said: “What it means is for one million people across Norfolk and Waveney they will have world class cancer treatment on their doorstep, some of the best cancer care in the world.”

The strategy sets out six objectives the hospital wants to achieve by 2022. These are:

1. To radically upgrade prevention and public health - including looking at alternative funding sources.

2. To achieve earlier diagnosis and treatment within national targets - including increasing the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stage one and two..

3. To establish patient experience as being on par with clinical effectiveness and safety - including having more cancer nurse specialists..

4. To transform the approach to support people living with and beyond cancer - including working with third sector partners..

5. To make necessary investments to deliver a modern high-quality service - including more patients taking part in clincal research trials.

6. To lead the organisation of integrated cancer services in Norfolk and Waveney.

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