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Macmillan has been helping people affected by cancer for the last 100 years. But we know that the needs of the two million people living with cancer in the UK today are not being fully met.This number will rise to four million by 2030 and cancer services won’t be able to cope if we continue to work as we do.
Macmillan’s ambition to reach and improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer by 2010 was challenging, but I believe we met it. Sometimes this was achieved indirectly, for example, through a piece of research we initiated that helped form a government policy. And sometimes it struck right at the heart of the issue, like a clinical nurse specialist being there for a patient and their family throughout their cancer experience.
As we got closer to 2010, we needed to look again at our ambition and the strategy behind it. In 2009, we established what future challenges Macmillan faced, and the balance between change and continuous delivery, or business as usual. We decided on the broad parameters for changing our strategy – for example, we will remain a patient-centred charity, grow our income, and create change in the NHS, but we won’t become a paid provider to the NHS. So the future means evolution not revolution.
We spent the past 18 months researching, thinking and testing ideas with more than 650 stakeholders. Thank you to the 200 Macmillan professionals who helped.
Along with people affected by cancer, supporters, volunteers and staff, you helped create nine outcomes we want people affected by cancer to be able to say by 2030. These outcomes are at the heart of our future direction and underpin our strategy for the next 20 years.
The nine outcomes are:
1. I was diagnosed early.
2. I understand, so I make good decisions.
3. I get the treatment and care which are best for my cancer and my life.
4. I am treated with dignity and respect.
5. I know what I can do to help myself and who else can help me.
6. Those around me are well-supported.
7. I can enjoy life.
8. I feel part of a community and I’m inspired to give something back.
9. I want to die well.
Everything Macmillan does should be aimed at improving these outcomes. In part, we will achieve this by doing more of what we already do.
For example, we will support more palliative care and clinical nurse specialists, provide more and better information in different ways, and continue to lobby for changes in health policy which benefit people with cancer.
Macmillan will also need to do more of things we are beginning to test – like offering practical support in the community provided by trained and supported volunteers or partnering with organisations that complement us, like our partnership with Boots UK|, which is helping us get cancer information on to the high street|.
But even if we do more of the same, and more of the new, we won’t be able to create cancer services that will deliver our nine outcomes for the four million people who will be living with cancer in 2030. And we certainly won’t, as a country, be able to afford the high-quality, patient-centred services we all want.
To achieve the degree of change we want, and to do it in a sustainable, cost-effective way, there are four things we need to do in a radically different way. These are:
- redesigning the system
- building cancer care teams for the future
- helping people take control
- inspiring millions of people to get involved.
There is more information about each of these areas below.
1. Redesigning the system
Macmillan will work with partners to change the cancer system to ensure all cancer services – in hospital and the community, providing medical, practical, emotional and financial support – are joined up and designed around individual needs.
We will need to look at the whole pathway in an area, not just parts of the pathway. For example, Macmillan is influencing the redesign of services across whole geographical areas like in Northern Ireland, where we are working with the cancer network to redesign follow-up services.
2. Building cancer care teams for the future
Macmillan wants to further develop the skills of its 5,000 professionals, support your learning and development needs, and look at ways of funding new types of roles.
For example, Jan Bolton’s role as a social care coordinator at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust was developed to address a gap in social care for people affected by cancer. Jan plans care and improves the experience of people living with cancer across health and social care services. ‘The real reward is going beyond the expectations of patients and their families – it’s what’s expected of Macmillan,’ Jan says.
The post has improved outcomes for people affected by cancer in Northampton, and an impact report after one year showed that Jan has facilitated 97 hospital discharges, influenced 10 avoidable admissions and facilitated 56 preferred place of care discussions.
3. Helping people take control
Macmillan wants people to receive the support they need to make informed decisions, manage their condition, and to know who to contact for further help – whether the person is an elderly man living alone in a rural village, or a young single mother in an inner city tower block. In either case, we need to know what help and support that person needs and how they would like to access it. One of the new ideas in this area is Macmillan’s work with partners to pilot the Health and Wellbeing Clinics. These are one-off supportive events where people with cancer and their carers and families can access a wide range of support and services.
4. Inspiring millions of people to get involved
Needless to say, we as Macmillan cannot do this alone. Not as the 1,000 staff, not as the 5,000 Macmillan professionals. We will need to have more supporters, more volunteers and more partners. A huge number of people are already involved with Macmillan. They help with many things, including volunteering at projects or services, for example, buddying survivors to be more physically active, or by simply talking about Macmillan’s work. The challenge for Macmillan going forward is to increase the number of people who get involved so that our reach, particularly into the community, is as wide as it needs to be.
This is a 20 year strategy that will take time, money and new approaches. We will be sharing more on the strategy in upcoming editions of Mac Voice. But in the meantime, thank you for your contribution to Macmillan today and for the contribution you will make in the future.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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