Here is a guest contribution to the blog from François Briatte a researcher at Edinburgh University, who is examining contemporary cancer policies in France and the UK. Find out more about his work, via his blog or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The policy document fits in a list of national initiatives from several UK governments towards the improvement of cancer control. The Cancer Reform Strategy comes as an adjunct to the NHS Cancer Plan of 2000, which itself draws on the propositions for reform exposed in the Calman-Hine report, from the name of the Chief Medical Officers of England and Whales who supervised its production in 1995. Cancer has been a priority for New Labour governments since the publication of the Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation White Paper in 1999, which established targets for the National Health Service.
In the last fifteen years, governmental initiatives in cancer control have drawn on policy reports and advice from several non-governmental sources:
- The Calman-Hine report first referred to previous documents drafted by the Royal College of Radiologists and the Royal College of Physicians published in the previous years. The report itself was drafted by a group mainly composed of medical practitioners.
- It is less clear where the evidence for the NHS Cancer Plan came from, although the publication of epidemiological comparative data from the EUROCARE group was determinant in raising awareness about cancer survival in Britain at the time. The Plan was announced at the cancer summit organised at 10 Downing Street in May 1999 by Tony Blair.
- Finally, the Cancer Reform Strategy has been a more pluralist process involving many health policy groups. The King’s Fund report Future Trends and Challenges for Cancer Services in England, ordered by the medical research charity Cancer Research UK and published in August 2006, was a certain influence in the drafting of the Strategy, which was announced at the Britain Against Cancer Conference by the All-Parliamentary Group on Cancer. The efforts of the Cancer Campaigning Group also helped in elevating cancer control onto the governmental agenda.
National cancer control programmes have received a great deal of support in publications by international organisations, such as the World Health Organization which published Policies and Managerial Guidelines for such programmes, and the World Bank, which recently encouraged the tackling of chronic illnesses in its recent report Public Policy and the Challenge of Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases. The European Union has been especially active in the fight against cancer by launching several
Europe Against Cancer programmes in the 1980s and 1990s, the latest of which resulted in the publication of the European Cancer Code.