NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board this week agreed a strategic intent to seek a realigning of cancer services with the West of Scotland network.
Work is set to take place with colleagues across West and East Cancer Networks and the Scottish Government around the realigning of these services.
Due to the complexity of such a move this could take several years to complete. This forms part of wider strategic planning at a regional level that aims to address many challenges facing the delivery of specialist care and treatment across Scotland and therefore support service sustainability.
The agreement reached by NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board on Monday was informed by the work undertaken between January and April this year by the Macmillan Cancer Pathways and Palliative Care project.
It collected the thoughts and experiences on the existing structures from people with cancer, their spouses, partners, family members and Carers, as well as those health and care professionals across the Partnership who provide cancer care and support. In total, 543 people contributed.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said: “We very much welcomed the report which informed our discussion about the future for cancer services for people living within Dumfries and Galloway.
“Ultimately, we agreed a strategic intent to seek a realigning of cancer services with the West of Scotland network.
“As you can appreciate, the current structures serve a very wide array of patient needs and are interconnected with the rest of Scotland. Our priority is always the welfare of patients, and so changes are likely to take several years.“
In the interim there are measures which can be taken to minimise the number of journeys people have to make to either Glasgow or Edinburgh. This includes utilising technology to ensure as many appointments as possible are provided locally, minimising unnecessary trips outwith Dumfries and Galloway.”
The Health Board committed to working with colleagues in Edinburgh and Glasgow Cancer Centres to take swift action to increase the number of appointments that can be undertaken at a local level whilst recognising people will still have to travel for treatments such as radiotherapy and complex surgery.
Mr Ace said: “The Board is extremely grateful for the excellent, high quality treatment and support which will continue to be provided to our patients with the East of Scotland network while this work is being taken forward.”