One-to-one support

As the number of people living with and beyond cancer in the UK is likely to rise to over four million by 2030, we are piloting better ways to provide one-to-one support to people following cancer treatment. One-to-one support is flexible to help meet a person’s individual needs. It may be provided by a team of staff working together or wholly by a Macmillan support worker.

Overall aim

To support cancer patients with the right person at the right time, at each stage of their cancer journey.


We know that a cancer patient’s individual needs are best met through interactions with a mix of people making up the cancer workforce. To ensure people with cancer receive one-to-one support we need to build teams so they can see the right person with the right skills and knowledge at the right time. We act as a catalyst for change in cancer care and work with the NHS and other healthcare organisations to develop the cancer care workforce to support the new care pathways identified in the Cancer Strategy 2015-2020.

Macmillan support worker

The Macmillan support worker role has been introduced to provide timely support for people who have been assessed as able to self manage but would benefit from support to help them regain control of their lives and return to the things they want to do. This is most often after a person’s treatment has ended.

Support workers provide emotional support and practical advice to help meet a person’s holistic needs. They can coordinate a person’s care and support and can signpost to a wide range of services that may be of benefit. They will recognise where a person may need additional help, or can arrange easy access back to the professionals who had been supporting them.

The Macmillan support worker is a non-specialist role, working under the supervision of a registered practitioner and with an NVQ 3-4 or a Diploma in Health and Social Care.

See the job description and person specification for the Macmillan support worker role [PDF].

Pilot evaluation

The project began in 2012 and will be delivered over 7-10 years. Read the baseline report [PDF].

Macmillan worked with 16 partner organisations to pilot and evaluate four new workforce roles in practice, as part of local care pathway redesign, providing evidence of cost-effectiveness, quality of patient reported outcomes and patient reported experience.

The final evaluation report indicates that by working together, the new roles and existing cancer workforce have enabled people living with cancer to have the time and guidance they require to identify their concerns, manage their own care and take back control. This has also had the positive outcome of helping to improve patient experience at the pilot sites.

As a result of the pilot and evaluation, we will continue to fund more support workers.

The words 'evaluation of phase 1 of the one-to-one support implementation project'