Oxford hospital bosses welcome decision on PET-CT cancer scan service

Prof Jonathan Montgomery, chairman of OUH
Prof Jonathan Montgomery, chairman of OUH

Top bosses at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH) have shared with staff their delight at retaining the contract for their own cancer scanning service.

The Banbury Guardian broke the news yesterday (Tuesday) that the PET-CT advanced scan service at the Churchill Hospital would not now be privatised and that OUH will be able to continue its crucial clinical and research work in full control.

Dr Bruno Holthof, chief executive officer of OUH

Dr Bruno Holthof, chief executive officer of OUH

Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery and Dr Bruno Holthof, Chair and Chief Executive of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), have sent a joint message to staff to share the welcome news that the current PET-CT service run by OUH on the Churchill Hospital site will be retained by NHS England.

"Following a procurement process run by NHS England for the contract to provide the Thames Valley regional PET-CT scanning service, we wrote to the Chairman of the Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to ask for the issue to be considered.

"At a meeting on April 4, HOSC members heard from patients and clinicians and referred the matter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. He chose not to consider the matter further at this time, which was naturally disappointing for us, but we were grateful to the Chairman of the Oxfordshire HOSC for agreeing to our request to examine this issue.

"The support of many patients and members of the public who have contacted us, HOSC and NHS England shows how much they value the current PET-CT service at the Churchill. Our local MPs and our Foundation Trust governors, who include elected representatives of local people and OUH staff, have also provided invaluable support at this challenging time.

"The Trust has maintained an ongoing dialogue with NHS England on this important issue which at its heart is about ensuring the quality and safety of patient care.

"In May 2019 the Trust Board agreed seven tests that needed to be met before we could come to an agreement with NHS England in order to resolve the current contract situation.

"Following a number of discussions which involved both clinicians and senior managers, we are pleased that we have now reached an agreement with NHS England.

"Most importantly, there will be no change to the current PET-CT service at the Churchill Hospital, which will continue to be run by OUH and we will continue to be directly accountable to NHS England for this service. The current clinical pathways for our patients will be maintained and any changes in these pathways will be decided by clinicians."

A statement about today's announcement is available here.