Sounds promising …. a prevention agenda for change! The SCPN were delighted to be invited to provide evidence to the Scottish Government Health and Sport Committee on this very topic which is a major part of their current business (“To seek evidence on and analyse preventative spend through a series of short inquiries on specific health related topics”). The SCPN were however surprised to learn this evidence request was focused around the Detect Cancer Early (DCE) programme because DCE have a clear remit to “improve survival for people with cancer in Scotland to amongst the best in other European countries by diagnosing and treating the disease at an earlier stage” but no mandate (or budget) for cancer prevention. However, we did make the point in our evidence statement that more investment in cancer prevention is needed and combining this with Detect Cancer Early initiatives has the potential to be cost effective and acceptable.
Of the six organisation who provided written evidence (or attended the committee discussion) all noted that the remit of DCE was not prevention. A full transcript of the evidence session is available and the reader will see that most of the discussion was inevitably on early detection not on preventative spend…. However, the minute of the meeting ends with the consensual conclusion that “it might be said that we should continue to be ambitious on detection, but do a good deal more on prevention”. How sensible it would be to join DCE activities with prevention activities and budget!! After all, no matter how early a cancer is detected there isn’t a single patient who doesn’t wish that it could have been prevented. I guess we watch this space…..