How it all started

In 2008, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing announced, following a Review of Specialist Services for Children and Young People, the intention of Scottish Government to establish a Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer, as one of only two Managed Service Networks (MSNs) that would be expected to cover the whole country. This was later confirmed, in 2009, with the publication of the National Delivery Plan for Specialist Children’s Services.

It was envisaged that a Managed Service Network (MSN) would build upon the substantial developments made by the Managed Clinical Network (MCN) - the Children and Teenagers Scottish Cancer Network (CATSCAN) - and deliver a single national service across separate geographical sites.

It has long been accepted that there should be a single service for children and young people with cancer in Scotland, and the MSN was established in April 2011. In March 2012, the MSN was formally launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, and at the same time the age range of the network was extended to include young adults up to age 25.

The MSN is charged with delivering the Scottish Government’s vision for cancer services - to ensure that children and young people in Scotland with a diagnosis of cancer attain the best possible outcomes, have access to appropriate specialist services, as locally as possible that are both safe and sustainable, and that the pathway of care is as equitable as possible regardless of where they live in Scotland.

Hospital care for children with cancer is mainly provided by the four children’s hospitals in Scotland, although the range of services provided in each centre is different and any individual patient’s care may be shared between centres. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are defined as Principal Treatment Centres (PTCs), and Glasgow hosts the National Bone Marrow Transplant Service. Aberdeen Children’s Hospital does not provide as extensive a range of services as Glasgow and Edinburgh, but does manage many children locally for much of their pathway of care and shares care with other centres. Dundee operates in a shared care arrangement with Edinburgh, Inverness with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Dumfries with Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The MSN is committed to ensuring that a strategy is developed for teenagers and young adults with cancer in Scotland which is consistent with approaches adopted in other UK countries. A pan-Scotland teenagers and young adults’ service will ensure that all young people will have access to age appropriate care. Currently a newly diagnosed teenager or young adult may receive their treatment in any hospital in Scotland, although there are currently specific Teenage Cancer Trust funded facilities in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The MSN works collaboratively with all the staff involved in the delivery of children and young people’s cancer services across Scotland and works with patients, carers and third sector organisations (charities). We aim to provide a responsive network that is relevant to all of our partners and, through the work of our various workstreams and professional groups delivers a cohesive, national service.