Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Read our FAQs to find out more about our partnership with the Transforming Cancer and End of Life Care Programme in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

What’s the problem?

There are over 60 organisations responsible for delivering cancer and end of life care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent at the moment and no one is taking responsibility for making sure they work together to ensure patients get the right support at the right time.

People affected by cancer, doctors and nurses in the local area tell us the system isn’t working and patients do not get the support they need when they need it most.

Even our own Macmillan nurses can’t provide the high-quality care that patients need because of the barriers and problems they face because of a lack of coordination and integration of care.

And the statistics reflect this. One-year survival rates in all four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) involved in the programme are below the England average and well below the European best. Two out of the four CCGs are failing to meet the 62-day referral to treatment cancer waiting time target. Yet the number of people diagnosed with cancer in the area is set to double by 2030.

The current system is simply not fit for purpose in the 21st century and needs to be updated.

By coordinating care better we can improve cancer survival rates, the experience of patients and ensure people are able to die where they choose.

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What are you doing to improve things?

Macmillan is committed to making sure that cancer patients are involved the work being done to improve care in the area. The needs of patients should be at the heart of decisions and changes.

Macmillan has been working with NHS leaders in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to look at a new way of working within cancer and end of life care, to improve survival rates, improve the experience of care for people with cancer and increase the number of people dying in the place they choose. This is a priority for the local NHS.

We have been talking to patients, doctors and nurses to find out what the issues and challenges are with cancer and end of life care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, as well as where there is really good care. We have also been looking very closely at the way cancer and end of life care is organised and paid for so that this can be improved.

We want to ensure that patients receive the support they need when they need it. This may seem simple but there have been many barriers and we need to work together much more closely to achieve this.

We have seen with other programmes that coordination of care can ultimately improve cancer survival rates, patient experience and ensure people die in the place of their choosing.

Macmillan is leading the way in helping the NHS tackle these difficult and fundamental problems so we can help improve the lives of people affected by cancer and those at the end of their life. This will ensure no patient or carer gets lost in a complex system. There is a commitment from NHS leaders across the county to work together to achieve this.

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What is Macmillan’s role in the Transforming Cancer and End of Life Care Programme?

Macmillan has more than 100 years’ experience in caring for people affected by cancer. This is just one of the ways in which we are improving lives for people with cancer in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. Our involvement in the programme has ensured that patients have been heard and that their needs are at its heart.

Macmillan has been there as facilitators and advisers and to ensure there is a consistently strong patient voice at every stage of the process. We are proud that the programme has been recognised as setting a new standard for how to include patients in decision-making about the shape of cancer care in the future and is being emulated across the NHS.

The work we are doing in Staffordshire is just one of more than 20 projects where we are working with the NHS to bring about long term changes and improvements. It is also part of our wider activities in Staffordshire.

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How much has Macmillan invested in improving care in Staffordshire?

Over the last five years, Macmillan has spent more than £5 million on improving cancer care services in Staffordshire, including our investment in the Transforming Cancer and End of Life Care Programme. We have provided funding to a number of partners across the county, funding more than 30 Macmillan professionals.

This includes:

  • new Macmillan Acute Oncology nurses at both University Hospital North Midlands (UHNM) and Stafford Hospital
  • a county-wide Macmillan Benefits Advice service with Disability Solutions
  • the building of a new Macmillan Information and Support Service at Stafford Hospital
  • a number of nurses supporting people with bowel cancer, bone cancer, urological and lung cancer

We have also funded a large cancer advocacy service at the Beth Johnson Foundation and refurbishments of the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centres at UHNM and Queen's Hospital, Burton.

More information about how we raise and spend our money can be found in our latest annual report.

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How can I find out more?

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