Introduction: There is limited evidence on the impact of centralization of cancer treatment services on patient travel burden and access to treatment. Using prostate cancer surgery as an example, this national study analysis aims to simulate the effect of different centralization scenarios on the number of center closures, patient travel times, and equity in access. Methods: We used patient-level data on all men (n = 19,256) undergoing radical prostatectomy in the English National Health Service between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014, and considered three scenarios for centralization of prostate cancer surgery services A: procedure volume, B: availability of specialized services, and C: optimization of capacity. The probability of patients travelling to each of the remaining centers in the choice set was predicted using a conditional logit model, based on preferences revealed through actual hospital selections. Multivariable linear regression analysed the impact on travel time according to patient characteristics. Results: Scenarios A, B, and C resulted in the closure of 28, 24, and 37 of the 65 radical prostatectomy centers, respectively, affecting 3993 (21%), 5763 (30%), and 7896 (41%) of the men in the study. Despite similar numbers of center closures the expected average increase on travel time was very different for scenario B (+15 minutes) and A (+28 minutes). A distance minimization approach, assigning patients to their next nearest center, with patient preferences not considered, estimated a lower impact on travel burden in all scenarios. The additional travel burden on older, sicker, less affluent patients was evident, but where significant, the absolute difference was very small. Conclusion: The study provides an innovative simulation approach using national patient-level datasets, patient preferences based on actual hospital selections, and personal characteristics to inform health service planning. With this approach, we demonstrated for prostate cancer surgery that three different centralization scenarios would lead to similar number of center closures but to different increases in patient travel time, whilst all having a minimal impact on equity

cancer surgery, centralization, equity, health service redesign, patient preference, travel time,
Cancer medicine
Health Systems and Insurance

Aggarwal, A, van der Geest, S.A., Lewis, D, van der Meulen, J, & Varkevisser, M. (2020). Simulating the impact of centralization of prostate cancer surgery services on travel burden and equity in the English NHS: a national population based model for health service re-design. Cancer medicine. doi:10.1002/cam4.3073