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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

NHS to stop 'unnecessary' or 'ineffective' treatments

It has been widely reported that the NHS is hoping to cut costs by refusing “futile” operations to hundreds of thousands of patients.

An initial list of 17 procedures, including injections for back pain, surgery to help snorers and knee arthroscopies for arthritis, will be discontinued completely or highly restricted by NHS England as many of these problems get better without treatment.

The health service hopes the measures will save £200m a year and Steve Powis, the medical director of NHS England, has been widely quoted as saying “I’m confident there is more to be done”, adding that the list of 17 operations formed “the first stage” of rooting out futile treatments that are believed to cost taxpayers £2bn a year. “We are also going to ask ‘Are there other procedures and treatments we should add to the list?’,” Powis said. 

Reports have suggested that additions to “futile” procedures to be “rooted out” could include brain scans for patients with migraines and this has caused concern within our community.

We have been contacted by Julie Bostock from Lancashire who told us, “This is of great concern to me because there are many brain tumour cases where patients have been misdiagnosed with migraine. The sudden onset of migraine symptoms should always prompt a brain scan. This is exactly what happened to me and they found a tumour the size of a golf ball behind my right eye. I needed surgery to save my life."

We will be monitoring any further developments closely and have requested further information on the accuracy, or otherwise, of these rumours. NHS England plans to consult publicly on the proposals between 4 July and 28 September, with changes planned to start in 2019-20

Earlier diagnosis is a necessary route to faster treatment and improved outcomes for patients. However, once diagnosed patients are currently faced with a paucity of treatments. More options and better outcomes are what is needed and this is the reason that the Brain Tumour Research charity exists.

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