The 'Catman-Hine' report (1995) recommended that cancer surgery should be limited to specialist high-volume units. National guidance from the National Health Service (NHS) Executive in 2001 stated that specialist oesophagogastric cancer centres should 'aim to draw patients from catchme it areas with a population of 1-2million.' For pancreatic cancers, the catchment areas should be between 2 and 4 million, reflecting the relatively lower incidence of disease. For the West Midlands region, these recommendations would suggest that four or five centres might be required to provide specialist surgical management for oesophagogastric cancer, and one or two centres for pancreatic disease. We used Hospital Episode Statistics to analyse trends in management patterns for these tumours within the West Midlands during the period 1992-2000. Over 20 different units were involved in the management of oesophagogastric and pancreatic disease, and we were unable to discern any clear and consistent move towards the centralisation of the upper gastrointestinal work in high-volume units since the publication of the Calman-Hine report in 1995. Although the drive for centralisation might be anticipated to increase following the publication of the NHS Executive's guidance, there is a substantial way to go before the provision of surgical services for upper gastrointestinal cancers is limited to a small number of high-volume specialist units. (C) 2004 The Royal Institute of Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- calman hine