Expressing concern over 68% of cancer patients dying in the country, a Parliamentary Committee has strongly urged the government to expand and upgrade cancer treatment infrastructure for affordable and quality care by enlarging the network of Mumbai based Tata Memorial Centre.
The Department Related Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change submitted its Report on “An expanded role for the Department of Atomic Energy in Cancer Treatment in India through an Enlarged Network of the Tata Memorial Centre.
Chairman of the Committee, Jairam Ramesh along with other Members presented the Report to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu yesterday. TMC, the leader in cancer treatment is supported by the Department of Atomic Energy.
Stating that the Committee was perturbed over the rising number of cancer patients in the country, it recommended wider adoption of ‘Hub and Spoke’ model proposed by Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) across the country.
TMC has proposed that common and less complex cancer care facilities should be provided close to patients’ homes (spoke) to create minimum disruption in their lives and that of their families. Treatment of uncommon cancers and those with complex treatment protocols can be provided by the expert centres of excellence (hubs).
Under this model, the Railways Hospital, Varanasi is effectively functioning as a Hub. The Committee suggested a mapping exercise to be undertaken in right earnest to determine the phasing of TMC’s Hub and Spoke model, so that, first few hubs can be set up in the regions with an increased incidence of cancer on account of inadequate infrastructure.
The Parliamentary Committee recommended setting up of a High Level Steering Committee headed by the Minister of State for Atomic Energy, the Chief Secretaries/Administrators of all the States and UT’s and Director of TMC as Members to work out modalities for rolling out of Hub and Spoke Model in a time-bound manner to not only contain patient migration but also to ensure state-of-the-heart facilities as close as possible for cancer patients.
The Committee noted with concern the very high incidence of cancer in all North- Eastern States and recommended that Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute at Guwahati should be upgraded as a common Hub for the region. The Committee also urged the Central and State Governments to extend necessary help for enlarging the network of quality cancer treatment centres.
While expressing concern over the cancer care institutes acting in silos, the Committee said in the report; “The Committee is submitting this report in the hope that the Government of India will take a comprehensive view instead of having the report examined by the Department concerned and a routine Action Taken Report is submitted to Parliament. The Committee expects that such an ATR will be submitted after its recommendations are examined by the Department of Atomic Energy and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly and a holistic view taken.”
After presenting the Report to Chairman Naidu, Chairman of the Committee, Jairam Ramesh explained that the Parliamentary Committee took up the cancer care issue since the Department of Atomic Energy is in the jurisdiction of the committee besides the environmental aspect of incidence of cancer. Members of Parliament Ravi Prakash Verma, Dr Jayanta Kumar Roy and Ashwini Vaishnaw also spoke on the causes and consequences of cancer.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu complimented the committee for being the first to submit a report after re-constitution of DRSCs in September this year and also for examining and reporting on an important health-care issue. Chairman Naidu said that he will ask the concerned Ministers to have the recommendations of the Committee examined for necessary action.