To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what guidance NHS England has issued to strategic clinical networks on the role that breast network site-specific groups should play in the current strategic clinical network framework;
(2) how many strategic clinical networks currently have a breast network site-specific group; and how many times each such group met in 2013-14;
(3) how many breast network site-specific groups existed in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and how many times each such group met in each year;
(4) what guidance is provided to breast network site-specific groups on (a) the frequency with which they should meet each year, (b) the number of members each group should have and (c) the roles that should be represented in the group's membership.
The requirement for the provision of site-specific groups (SSGs), such as those for breast cancer, is written into national cancer peer review requirements. In consultation with strategic clinical networks (SCNs), NHS England has developed an SCN framework. The framework reiterates the role and importance of clinical networking groups as support for the commissioning process, but allows for local agreement to how those groups are supported.
There are 12 SCNs and we would expect all to have a breast network SSG. This will be evidenced by the annual report published for the SCN and relevant area team. The National Peer Review Programme “Manual for Cancer Services; Breast Cancer Measures” states that network groups should meet regularly.
The Review Programme further states that the network group should produce an annual work programme in discussion with the SCN and agreed with the director of the relevant Area Team. It should include details of any planned service developments and should specify the personnel responsible and the time scales for implantation. The SSGs also develop protocols for the treatment of patients within the SCN and agree audits and research projects that will be supported.
The Review Programme also states that network groups should meet regularly. It gives guidance on the roles that should be represented on the group but not numbers.
We do not hold information on how many breast network SSGs existed and how many times each group met prior to April 2013.