The 2020 deadline for the roll-out of the cancer recovery package was announced on Sunday by Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, so a leading charity behind the package has explained the two main implications for GPs: the treatment summary and the cancer care review.
The roll-out of the recovery package was committed to in England in the Five Year Forward View and "most CCGs have included it in their commissioning intentions for next year", Dany Bell, treatment and recovery programme lead at Macmillan, said.
The treatment summary is a management plan which is filled in by a patient’s secondary care staff such as their oncologist or surgeon depending on what treatment they’ve had. They will send it to a patient’s GP as well as sharing a copy with the patient themselves, she explained to Management in Practice.
"Both the GP and the patient need to be aware of the information in the treatment summary, especially around symptoms to look out for in the case of a recurrence of the cancer and consequences of treatment the patient is experiencing or that they could experience in the future."
Bell also clarified that the cancer care review will allow a GP to take stock of what’s happened to a cancer patient, for example what treatment they’ve had and any consequences of that treatment which they may be experiencing, and then assess any actions which should be taken forward. This could include advice on their lifestyle, recommendations around or access to physical activity, or advice on how to manage symptoms.
Practice staff can then use a holistic needs assessment and the treatment summary to make sure they have all the right information and that the patient is informed and has all the help they need.
She continued: “Ultimately, the GP role is all about reinforcing the philosophy of supported self management for those that can self manage aspects of their care. In some of the pilot sites that are already up and running we’ve seen GPs align these aspects of the recovery package into their own existing processes in a number of ways.
"Some have included cancer in their current model for long-term conditions, checking up on a patient once a year for in a 40 minute consultation. Others practices have trained up nurses to help take on some of these new responsibilities such as reviewing the treatment summary. In fact Macmillan has developed a course for practice nurses to help them do exactly this," Bell said.
More information on this course is available here.