The Recovery Package

The Recovery Package has four main interventions. Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning, Treatment Summary, Cancer Care Review, and Health and Wellbeing Events. These elements form part of an overall support and self-management package for people affected by cancer – physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, managing consequences of treatment, and information, financial and work support.

The Recovery Package is recognised in the NHS England Five Year Forward View and the Cancer Taskforce Strategy which outlines a commitment to ensuring that ‘every person with cancer has access to the elements of the Recovery Package by 2020’. The roll out of these interventions will better support and improve the quality of life of people living with and beyond cancer.

Benefits of the Recovery Package

Hear from people living with cancer, clinicians and Lynda Thomas, our chief executive.

Further resources and downloads

Benefits of the Recovery Package

Hear from people living with cancer, clinicians and Lynda Thomas, our chief executive.

Further resources and downloads

Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning, and eHNA

What is a Holistic Needs Assessment and how does it help?

An HNA ensures that people’s physical, practical, emotional, spiritual and social needs are met in a timely and appropriate way, and that resources are targeted to those who need them most. An HNA is a simple questionnaire that is completed by a  person affected by cancer. It allows them to highlight the most important issues to them at that time, and this can inform the development of a care and support plan with their nurse or key worker. The questionnaire can be completed on paper, or electronically.

Evidence has shown providing effective individual Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and care and support planning can contribute to better identification of a person's concerns. It also enables early intervention and diagnosis of side effects or consequences of treatment. As such, everyone living with or beyond cancer should be offered an HNA and a care and support plan at key stages on their cancer pathway as part of the Recovery Package.

Evidence also suggests that a person’s holistic needs are likely to change at key points in their cancer journey, like after diagnosis and at the end of treatment, or if something else affects their health or social needs. Having an HNA at these points helps to identify the issues that need to be discussed and can be used to continually inform their care and support plan.

The information gathered from an HNA can also be shared with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and the person’s GP, to improve management and care. Any data collected can be used to influence service developments and the commissioning of future services.

All resources to help implement HNA in your setting can be found on our further information page.

Electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA)

Macmillan's eHNA allows a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) to be completed electronically.

The eHNA allows for the person affected by cancer to complete the HNA questionnaire on a touch screen tablet. This information is then sent to the clinician through a secure website to begin the process of care and support planning.

Care and support plans can be printed and saved for sharing with the person affected by cancer and their health care team. Each team has access to its own data for reporting and analysis, and to identify local service needs. Anonymous data collected from the assessments and care plans can be used to look at the overall needs of different groups of people. This in turn can help to inform the planning of local services.

Please contact the team with any further queries.

For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

A cartoon woman stands in the middle with five through bubbles coming out of her head. The background is grey and she seems confused.

Why should I use the HNA?

Watch our two videos on how to use the HNA.

Why should I use the HNA?

Watch our two videos on how to use the HNA.

Treatment Summaries

A Treatment Summary is a document (or record) completed by secondary care professionals, usually the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) after a significant phase of a patients cancer treatment. It describes the treatment, potential side effects, and signs and symptoms of recurrence. It is designed to be shared with the person living with cancer and their GP.

The Treatment Summary aims to inform the GP and other primary care professionals of actions that need to be taken and who to contact with any questions or concerns. The person affected by cancer also receives a copy to improve their understanding and to know if there is anything to look out for during their recovery.

It also provides the GP with an up-to-date and clear understanding of the patient’s treatment. This can include information that is essential for updating their records and for conducting a Cancer Care Review. It also includes the GP READ codes. These are a well established method of classifying and recording disease status and treatment activity in an electronic format.

The Treatment Summary can also be shared with other health professionals and used to evidence the patient’s treatment, for example when claiming travel insurance. A copy of the Treatment Summary is retained in the patients case notes so medical staff can access the patients information easily if they are admitted back to hospital after their primary treatment is complete.

Treatment Summaries can be completed on paper or electronically. Macmillan provides paper based templates for Treatment Summaries in the form of refillable triplicate packs that are easy to use and free to order from be.Macmillan.

Macmillan also develops and updates electronic Treatment Summary templates that are hosted on leading secondary care systems such as Somerset Cancer Register and InfoFlex. If you use an in-house cancer information management system and would like advice about adding the Treatment Summary template, or for any other information please contact the Recovery package team.

For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

Cancer Care Review

This is a discussion between a patient and their GP or practice nurse about their cancer journey. It helps the person affected by cancer understand what information and support is available to them in their local area, open up about their cancer experience and enable supported self-management.

When delivering a CCR some patients may be accompanied by a carer and, with permission from the patient, they can act as an advocate when discussing their care. A carer can often help turn any recommendations into manageable solutions for the person they care for.

Our Ten Top Tips for carrying out an effective CCR can help ensure they deliver benefits for both patients and professionals.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) requires all general practitioners (GPs) to carry out a CCR with a person affected by cancer, within six months of receiving notification of a diagnosis.

The QOF lacks clarity about what the CCR should consist of and what is helpful and necessary to include. As a result, the current experience of a CCR for the person affected by cancer can be variable.

Macmillan are working with leading GP IT system providers, INPS Vision, SystmOne and EMIS, to develop electronic CCR templates similar to those for other chronic diseases to ensure consistency and quality.

Want to know more? Email the Recovery Package team. For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

Health and Wellbeing Events

Health and Wellbeing Events are designed to help people affected by cancer and their family and friends get the support they need during and after cancer treatment.

Health and Wellbeing Events can provide information and support on:

  • Benefits and other financial support
  • How to get back to work
  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Long-term side-effects of treatment
  • Specific cancers
  • Local services.

How Health and Wellbeing Events benefit people affected by cancer

Evidence has shown that patients who attended a Health and Wellbeing Event have:

  • Better knowledge of the signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence and consequences of treatment.
  • More confidence to question or challenge information and make informed decisions about their health.
  • More confidence to deal with the physical discomfort and emotional distress associated with cancer and its treatment.
  • A strong sense of reassurance -  even if the services are not needed at that time, they know what’s available and how to access them in the future.

How Health and Wellbeing Events can benefit your organisation

Health and Wellbeing Events can help provide better patient outcomes, reduce unplanned admissions to hospital and help to meet the quality agenda through:
  • Delivering health care messages in an informal and relaxed setting.
  • Earlier intervention and improved outcomes. 
  • Using healthcare resources effectively. 
  • Giving people direct referrals where necessary, making it easier to access relevant services for the support they need. 
  • Sharing techniques to help self manage their health and well-being which will improve their quality of life and  lessen their need for services. 
  • Creating the opportunity to meet other people with similar experiences, providing reassurance, reducing anxiety and the sense of isolation, for both people living with cancer, their carers and families. 
  • Adding value through volunteers. 
For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

A middle-aged man with grey hair talks to the camera

Watch: Health and wellbeing events

Watch: Health and wellbeing events


The concept of the Recovery Package was developed and tested by the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (2008-2013) - a partnership of Macmillan Cancer Support, Department of Health and NHS England. This partnership aimed to assist people living with a diagnosis of cancer to prepare for the future, and identify their individual concerns and support needs. This would then enable people to return to as near a normal lifestyle as possible, including returning to work.

The National Cancer Survivorship Initiative was also developed to complement stratified care pathways and enable individualised follow-up care such as a supported self-management, shared care or complex care. Download the full report [PDF].