Cancer scans contract in contention at Oxford

One of the imaging techniques used in treating cancers is Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The technique can be used to locate secondary cancers (metastases). It is often combined with CT which is an X-ray imaging technique. Some colorectal cancer patients from the Royal Berkshire Hospital are referred to the Churchill Hospital (part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foudation Trust) in Oxford, a centre of excellence for cancer treatment.

According to articles in the Oxford Mail , the contract for these scans at the Churchill Hospital is being relet and NHS England, which is responsible, is proposing to award the contract to inHealth, a private company which would provide equipment elsewhere, thereby separating the scanning process from the clinical expertise at the hospital. Doctors at the hospital are forecasting harm to patients from this proposed move. A number of Thames Valley MPs, such as Anneliese Dodds MP and Layla Moran MP as well as councillors, health campaigners and patients are campaigning for public consultation on this hitherto secret process, with the hope of altering the decision. The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock MP has been asked to intervene.

Patients from Berkshire West could use an alternative centre for PET scanning at Southampton.