Reorganising specialist cancer surgery for the twenty-first century: a mixed methods evaluation (RESPECT-21)

There are longstanding recommendations to centralise specialist healthcare services, citing the potential to reduce variations in care and improve patient outcomes. Current activity to centralise specialist cancer surgical services in two areas of England provides an opportunity to study the planning, implementation and outcomes of such changes. London Cancer and Manchester Cancer are centralising specialist surgical pathways for prostate, bladder, renal, and oesophago-gastric cancers, so that these services are provided in fewer hospitals. The centralisations in London were implemented between November 2015 and April 2016, while implementation in Manchester is anticipated in 2017.

This mixed methods evaluation will analyse stakeholder preferences for centralisations; it will use qualitative methods to analyse planning, implementation and sustainability of the centralisations ('how and why?'); and it will use a controlled before and after design to study the impact of centralisation on clinical processes, clinical outcomes, cost-effectiveness and patient experience ('what works and at what cost?'). The study will use a framework developed in previous research on major system change in acute stroke services. A discrete choice experiment will examine patient, public and professional preferences for centralisations of this kind. Qualitative methods will include documentary analysis, stakeholder interviews and non-participant observations of meetings. Quantitative methods will include analysis of local and national data on clinical processes, outcomes, costs and National Cancer Patient Experience Survey data. Finally, we will hold a workshop for those involved in centralisations of specialist services in other settings to discuss how these lessons might apply more widely.

This multi-site study will address gaps in the evidence on stakeholder preferences for centralisations of specialist cancer surgery and the processes, impact and cost-effectiveness of changes of this kind. With increasing drives to centralise specialist services, lessons from this study will be of value to those who commission, organise and manage cancer services, as well as services for other conditions and in other settings. The study will face challenges in terms of recruitment, the retrospective analysis of some of the changes, the distinction between primary and secondary outcome measures, and obtaining information on the resources spent on the reconfiguration.

Implementation science : IS. 2016 Jan 25*** epublish ***

Naomi J Fulop, Angus I G Ramsay, Cecilia Vindrola-Padros, Michael Aitchison, Ruth J Boaden, Veronica Brinton, Caroline S Clarke, John Hines, Rachael M Hunter, Claire Levermore, Satish B Maddineni, Mariya Melnychuk, Caroline M Moore, Muntzer M Mughal, Catherine Perry, Kathy Pritchard-Jones, David C Shackley, Jonathan Vickers, Stephen Morris

Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK. ., Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK., Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK., Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK., Patient representative, London, UK., Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK., University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK., Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK., Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.