The NHS Long Term Plan and oncology and palliative care

Year published: 2019

This briefing highlights the commitments in the Long Term Plan for oncology and palliative care. 

Key messages from the CSP and the ACPOPC on local implementation

  • Rehabilitation should be available from diagnosis – in the form of prehabilitation – continuing throughout treatment and beyond, including rehabilitation for those with palliative care needs
  • Health systems (e.g. STPs/ICSs) need to consider how best to integrate acute and community services across cancer and palliative care rehabilitation. This will improve patient flow, reduce barriers to treatment and facilitate effective, safe discharge from services
  • The oncology physiotherapist’s role includes the assessment of individual’s complex needs and provision of specialist treatment to address these needs. They may also refer to community rehab teams, exercise professionals and voluntary sector groups
  • Health systems should ensure that everyone with cancer or palliative care needs has timely and uncomplicated access to appropriately qualified physiotherapists to meet their needs, no matter where in their cancer or palliative journey they are. This should include people whose needs arise some time following completion of their cancer treatment
  • Community rehab teams need to have open access to cancer rehab teams to ensure hand over-systems are effective, for specialist advice and training, and if necessary for referrals back in when complex rehabilitation needs emerge – including for physiotherapy interventions for pain, breathlessness and loss of mobility and function.
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