About the Review
The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and delivered from a site in North Middlesex managed by the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It is a standalone Cancer Centre and primarily serves a population of over 2 million people in Hertfordshire, south Bedfordshire, North West London and Berkshire.
Many of the buildings are not in a good state of repair, and a number of concerns have been raised in relation to the long-term clinical sustainability of the Cancer Centre. The doctors and nurses at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre have done a good job in putting things in place to ensure that treatment is of a high quality and that patients are safe. However, the doctors, nurses and managers all agree that a more permanent solution needs to be found to ensure the sustainability of the services in the long term.
NHS England is working with the staff at Mount Vernon, with other local hospitals and commissioners, and with the local Cancer Alliances to look at how the needs of local people can be best met, as well as to develop options that will build on the services, research and patient experience the Centre already delivers.
The aim is to organise services in ways that provide the best modern care for patients, including access to research trials and new technology and treatments, from good quality buildings and facilities.
What’s happened so far?
May 2019: A Programme Board set up to develop options and review data. Healthwatch Hertfordshire is represented on this Board and we are also part of the NHS England Communications group.
July 2019: An Independent Clinical Review Panel took place with leading clinicians from other parts of the country accompanied by representatives of Healthwatch Hertfordshire and Healthwatch Hillingdon.
December 2019 – February 2020 : At the end of this first stage a decision was made to appoint University College London Hospitals (UCLH) to run the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre from April 2021. This will be subject to a period of diligence which will ensure the clinical and business implications are properly understood before a final commitment is made, and that East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and University College Hospitals can have important discussions with staff whose contracts would transfer to University College London. This means that future Mount Vernon Cancer services will be provided by UCLH.
This will be from the Mount Vernon site at least until a decision is made on the long term future of Mount Vernon Cancer Centre services.
What happens next?
March to September 2020: The next stage of the review is to develop options building on the information gathered from patients and clinicians in the first stage. Patients and stakeholders, including local hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups, will be involved in developing a range of options.
These options will include maintaining services at, or near, the current Mount Vernon site. They will be evaluated on a range of criteria which patients had input into in stage 1, and include local access and how they connect with other services. NHS England and NHS Improvement want to ensure people are fully involved in these options and so this stage is expected to take about six months.
October 2020 to December 2020: Review of all the options and information to develop a shortlist of options. Only options that are possible will be taken forward.
January to March 2021: NHS England and NHS Improvement will run a formal 12-week public consultation.
May 2021: Once the feedback from the public consultation has been fully considered, a final decision can be made.
The independent clinical panel has made some recommendations that will not require changes for patients and these may be made more quickly. Some parts of the project could happen more quickly – for example, if it is possible to bring forward a decision on a satellite radiotherapy unit to improve access for changes for patients in North Hertfordshire and South Bedfordshire then this could be done.
Due to the restrictions brought about by Covid-19, Healthwatch Hertfordshire is waiting to hear from NHS England and NHS Improvement as to how the engagement and development of options phase that was about to begin will now proceed. We will update this page as soon as we have any new information.