Royal Marsden – Improvements Needed for Medical Care of Children with Cancer

3 Min Read

The Royal Marsden Hospital in London is a specialist centre of excellence for the treatment of cancer. But it has been revealed that there are concerns about the quality of medical care for children diagnosed with cancer. It was known since the avoidable death of a child in 2011 that unless improvements are made to the quality of care for children, there would be further serious medical accidents.

Report into Royal Marsden Cancer Care

Professor Mike Stevens carried out an independent investigation and finalised his report in 2015. It concluded that standards of medical care for children with cancer are not satisfactory for a variety of reasons including:

(a) Children are being prevented access to the specialist doctors at the Royal Marsden;
(b) Children are regularly and unnecessarily being transferred between hospitals;
(c) Children are not always receiving the correct treatment;
(d) There are delays in treatment;
(e) There is inadequate communication between doctors.

Professor Stevens made various recommendations for improvements.

Cancer Care Improvement Recommendations

But the Royal Marsden has not taken steps to implement the recommendations. In fact, the former NHS medical director for London, Dr Andy Mitchell, accused the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and Cally Palmer, England’s National Cancer Director, of suppressing its publication.. Following an exclusive report by Shaun Lintern of the Health Service Journal, internal emails between senior NHS staff have been published which speculated that the concerns over the quality of medical care appeared to have been intentionally brushed under the carpet. Gareth Mason, the father of two-year-old Alice who died in 2011 amid allegations of failures in the treatment of her cancer described by a Coroner as “astonishing”, called it a “cover up”. NHS England said that the report contained “implausible suggestions” and confirmed that an open consultation was now under way to consider “different clinical opinions”.

It is not yet clear why, having commissioned the report, NHS England did not publish it until now, four years after it was completed, however controversial or difficult its recommendations. Mr Mason’s question is a tough one to answer – “Why are they so frightened to talk about this?”

Today’s revelations will no doubt force discussion about the shortfalls in the current quality of medical care identified in Prof Steven’s report into the open and hopefully force imminent improvements for the care of children.

If Cancer Care Has Gone Wrong

Most children and adults do get the right care, from dedicated professionals in the NHS who want to do their best for their patients. But when things do go wrong, and if your cancer treatment has fallen short of appropriate standards causing you injury or making things worse for you, you can speak to our team at Enable Law. We have extensive experience as independent lawyers of representing families at Inquests and in helping adults and children get to the truth, gain an understanding of what has gone wrong, and seek an apology and compensation for what you or your child has been through.

If you are concerned about a child or family member and the care that they have received for the treatment of their cancer, please contact us.


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