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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Child cancer services could merge
The Aberdeen centre could be downgraded
The Aberdeen centre could be downgraded
A review of Scotland's cancer services for children could see the merger of three specialist centres.

The centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are experiencing a variety of problems and merging them is one of three options being considered.

The Scottish Executive report said the status quo was an option, as was retaining the Glasgow and Edinburgh services.

But North East MSP Mike Rumbles labelled the proposals "outrageous".

The report says that service changes will be required within two years for a variety of reasons.

The replacement of staff due to retire or leave the service, the impact of reduced working hours and the launch of standards for children's cancer services by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) were all cited as factors.

Two of the three options under consideration would see the Aberdeen centre being downgraded.

Patient care and safety is paramount at all times and we want to retain the provision of services from existing sites
Scottish Executive spokeswoman

The first would be a two-site option - centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow with "shared care" in Aberdeen and Dundee.

The second envisages just one specialist child cancer centre, based in Glasgow.

Under all the options, routine aspects of cancer care, like palliative and terminal care and chemotherapy, would still be provided across the country.

'Tooth and nail'

An executive spokeswoman said: "With some of the best treatment in the world, more and more Scots are living with and beating cancer.

"But we want to keep on improving cancer services to save as many lives as possible.

"That is why we set up an expert group to review the provision of children's cancer services in Scotland."

She went on: "No decision will be made without further public consultation.

"Patient care and safety is paramount at all times and we want to retain the provision of services from existing sites and to strengthen local provision wherever possible."

However, Mr Rumbles, the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP, said he would fight "tooth and nail" to retain the Aberdeen unit.

He said children should not have to make repeat journeys to the central belt for cancer treatment.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the reaction to the downgrade proposal



SEE ALSO:
Child cancer survival rate rises
22 Jan 04 |  Scotland
Child cancer raises health risk
23 Sep 03 |  Health


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