A HEALTH chief says a controversial rival bid to base head and neck cancer surgery at a Gloucester hospital instead of Worcestershire Royal Hospital may have been based on flawed data.

John Rostill, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said on his blog that incorrect data may have been used in the preferred bid by the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Both NHS trusts submitted bids to the Three Counties Cancer Network (3CCN) to host the service but Gloucester’s bid was preferred by a review panel. However, no decision has yet been taken by the heads of the primary care trusts – NHS Worcestershire, NHS Gloucestershire and NHS Herefordshire – on where it should be based.

Mr Rostill said: “What we have learnt recently is that there is now an admission by Gloucester that some of the figures submitted to the head and neck survey (which may have been used in its bid) are not correct. Our clinicians therefore have asked for a validation of the data and we await further news.” Suggestions the data may have been flawed provoked anger from supporters of the Worcester bid, including 68-year-old Paul Crawford, himself a throat cancer survivor.

He said: “The whole process appears to be a complete sham and the flaws are beginning to show, which is even more reason the Gloucester bid should be made public immediately.”

Mr Crawford and Richard Burt, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for West Worcestershire, have requested full details of the Gloucester bid be made public so people can judge which bid is best.

Mr Burt said he had submitted three freedom of information requests for bid details but was refused until the tendering process is complete.

Cancer tsar professor Mike Richards has submitted his views but Mr Rostill said he had yet to receive a copy of Professor Richards’ report, sent to the 3CCN chairman more than a week ago.

Jan Stubbings, chairman of 3CCN board and chief executive of NHS Gloucestershire, said: “We have now received Professor Richards’ advice and the findings are being discussed with the chief executives of Herefordshire and Worcestershire who will be in a position to share this information with local stakeholders soon.

“It is important to stress that no decision has yet been made on the future of specialist head and neck cancer surgery. We want to keep uncertainty to a minimum, but at the same time we need to ensure that every aspect of care is considered and that we fully understand the impact that a decision like this would have on existing facilities.”