Excellence Award finalists 2018

Choosing our winners from such an amazing and inspiring selection of people wasn’t easy. We'd like to congratulate all of our finalists for the fantastic work they do to support people living with cancer.

Innovation Excellence Award finalists

Macmillan Inspire Health Urology Team

Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Men often present late with prostate cancer because they dislike medical settings – so the Macmillan Inspire Health Urology Team decided to bring their service to them. The team, consisting of Macmillan Consultant Urological Surgeon Jyoti Shah and Macmillan Urology Advanced Nurse Practitioner Sarah Minns, began a campaign to offer men screenings and advice in the familiar surroundings of Burton Albion Football Club. Since then, they have taken their clinic to other football clubs, masonic lodges and community centres to get into the heart of the community.

Not only did this innovative initiative result in several early diagnoses of prostate cancer, but it also promoted cancer awareness locally. Alongside the clinic, the pair have set up a prostate cancer support group and developed fightingprostatecancer.co.uk – a website full of information for people living with prostate cancer.

‘Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in this country,’ says Jyoti. ‘People still die of it and they shouldn’t, so we want to go out there and raise awareness – and our clinics have got people talking. I find the groundswell of demand incredibly rewarding, and we’re always delighted to share our learning with other people who would like to set up similar initiatives. As long as we’ve got breath and energy, we’ll be doing more of these clinics and carrying on our campaign.’

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Ofrah Muflahi, Partnership Quality Lead.


Macmillan Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Team

Manchester University Foundation Trust (MFT)

Physiotherapy plays a key role in a person’s rehabilitation from breast cancer, as it enables the return of shoulder function and mobility. Early intervention is crucial, as it helps to prevent lymphoedema. In Manchester, a rapid increase in patient numbers, together with a limited physiotherapy service, meant waiting lists were long and patients’ needs were going unmet. It was time for an innovative new approach, and that’s exactly why the new Macmillan Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Service was established.

The service ensures patients with breast cancer have access to clear, practical advice – thanks to a unique and inventive information and support approach. Pre-operatively, patients are introduced to a bespoke website created by the team. Packed with useful information about what to expect both before and after surgery, and fully translated into five different languages, it’s an invaluable resource for patients and their families. Post-operatively, patients are invited to a one-off rehabilitation class led by a physiotherapist. Each class is surgery-specific and aims to group together patients who are at the same point in their physical rehabilitation.

‘The class forms a key part in a patient’s recovery,’ says Danielle Shaffi, a Macmillan Senior Physiotherapist from the service. ‘In it, we’ll go through several topics to help them with their recovery at home including exercise, lymphoedema prevention, diet and signposting to local services of all kinds. If we spot anybody having any difficulties at the class, we’ll either invite them back for further physio or refer them to the correct service.’

‘The waiting time for physiotherapy has plummeted as a result of the service,’ adds Karen Livingstone, Macmillan Clinical Specialist in Physiotherapy and Lymphoedema. ‘In addition, other services are reporting fewer rehabilitation concerns. Patients are much better informed about lymphoedema, and the physios on the ward have been able to target their interventions more effectively.

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Victoria Cooper, Partnership Quality Lead.


Sharon Huntley, Macmillan Primary Care Nurse

NHS Leeds West CCG

With GPs in Leeds struggling to undertake meaningful cancer care reviews (CCRs) – a fundamental part of the Recovery Package – and inequity as to how they were carried out, patients were struggling with many unmet needs. Change was needed and Sharon, a highly experienced and knowledgeable cancer CNS, was the ideal person to drive it.

Leading a new pilot project that offers nurse-led delivery of CCRs across seven GP practices in the area, Sharon has made an enormous impact on people’s lives. By comprehensively addressing patients’ needs in a community setting, her interventions have alleviated anxiety, enabled self-management and offered the desperately-needed support that cancer patients so often lack in primary care.

‘The cancer journey doesn’t begin and end in hospital,’ says Sharon. ‘When a patient is at home they see what they are left with, and they have to work out how to cope – and a Cancer Care Review can help with that.

‘It’s a real privilege to listen to people’s stories and try to pick up on areas where there might be opportunities for them to gain support. I’ve tried to make the service as patient-led as possible. People set their own goals and the aim is for them to resume a quality of life that is acceptable to them.

‘I can’t change someone’s prognosis, but I hope to make the experience a little bit easier. Often the impact I make is simply the catharsis of allowing people to talk freely to someone who is not their family, friend, or hospital doctor. It’s a great thing.’

If you have any questions about Sharon’s work please email Katie Pierce, Partnership Quality Lead.


Ian Petrie, Head & Neck Alcohol Liaison Nurse

Spectrum Community Health CIC

Alcohol misuse can present numerous issues for people who have had treatment for head and neck cancer, including the development of second primary tumours. Innovative alcohol liaison nurse Ian continuously strives to combat these problems by pioneering new pathways to improve outcomes. His drive and commitment has seen him create a unique service that raises awareness of alcohol-related cancer risks and reduce consumption levels among local patients.

Ian’s sensitive approach and motivational skills allow him to build trusting relationships with patients, while supporting them to enact change. Thanks to Ian’s commitment to evidence-based techniques, all patients receive high quality information that’s been proven most likely to change drinking behaviours. The results of Ian’s interventions have been influential, with 60% of patients drinking less after seeing him and 40% becoming fully abstinent. What’s more, because people receive support to reduce their drinking at home before surgery, estimated cost savings have been significant on hospital bed days.

As well as delivering change for his patients, Ian has also used his experience and expertise to raise awareness on alcohol and cancer issues among colleagues – which helped to change team processes when it comes to alcohol and cancer. Ultimately, he has fostered a supportive environment for people with cancer who are having difficulty with alcohol misuse and engendered a non-judgemental approach, based on the principles of motivational therapy. He’s making a huge impact on people’s lives.

If you have any questions about Ian’s work please email Lisa Spivey, Partnership Quality Lead.


Integration Excellence Award finalists

Victoria Mann, Macmillan Advanced Hepatobiliary Dietitian

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

When dietitian Victoria saw that the nutritional and psychological needs of patients with hepatobiliary (HPB) cancers – particularly those with pancreatic cancer – were not being met, she wanted to act. As a result, she worked with the HPB cancer nursing team at Oxford to devise a unique and integrated role that offers comprehensive dietetic support. After discovering that no information booklets existed locally or nationally for the many pancreatic cancer patients with type 3c diabetes, she set about writing them herself.

Victoria’s role supports patients who struggle with weight loss. Her interventions are having a huge impact on helping people to boost their appetite, optimise their eating, control their diabetes and tolerate their treatment.

‘Dietetic input can turn things around for patients,’ she explains. ‘I felt that, with simple interventions done correctly, we could really improve the quality of people’s lives. There was so little for these patients before, and now we really feel we have a good package to offer them, to address every aspect of their care.

‘I also try and raise awareness of type 3c diabetes, and ensure more people with cancer are correctly diagnosed with it,’ says Victoria. ‘I’ve written a screening protocol to help ensure we can pick it up earlier, and make sure people get the appropriate treatment. I’ve worked with a dietitian in Cambridge to put together some patient literature which is going to be rolled out nationally to ensure information is consistent for everyone.’

If you have any questions about Victoria’s work please email Shelagh Thompson, Partnership Quality Lead.


Denise Crouch, Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Foundation Trust

Health and wellbeing events play a key role in helping people to adjust to life with and beyond cancer, by providing information about local services and healthy living activities. In Derby, however, no such events were available or integrated into the cancer care pathway. Denise, an experienced cancer lead nurse, identified this lack of provision was impacting negatively on the recovery of patients, and was driven to fill the gap.

With her contacts and her excellent motivational skills, Denise engaged numerous agencies across Derbyshire and developed an inclusive programme of support. One of the projects, resulting from her tireless work was Active Recovery, was a flexible free exercise and rehabilitation programme run in partnership with Derby Community Trust and Derby County Football Club.

Active Recovery is open to anyone who is recovering from or living with the consequences of cancer, and who wants to feel more energised and confident. Events and activities take place across the community and at the football stadium. The programme is free and is open to carers, which means they also have an outlet, and the benefits for people living with cancer have been enormous.

‘People can take part all kinds of activities from walking football to Zumba,’ explains Denise. ‘But some just go along for coffee, cake and a chat. They just like to get together with people who are facing the same problems as they are – it’s all about peer support.

‘We can see that the effects of this programme are instant. 90% of those who attend say they’ve seen a decrease in fatigue, and 94% say their health and wellbeing is feeling better. Those numbers speak for themselves.’

If you have any questions about Denise’s work please email Mandy Edwards, Partnership Quality Lead.


City of Edinburgh Macmillan Welfare Rights Partnership

City of Edinburgh Council

On average, someone with cancer will be £485 a month worse off as a result of their diagnosis, and it’s easy for their money worries to spiral out of control. The City of Edinburgh Macmillan Welfare Rights Partnership team, which comprises of six welfare benefits advisers and a project manager, strives to alleviate these financial concerns by working differently.

The team recognised that by taking an integrated, cross-sector approach, they could offer greater support to more people. As a result, on top of supporting people with benefits issues, they now offer a full holistic assessment of housing and debt issues too. In order to streamline the service, the team worked to develop access to patient records. Not only has this improved referral processes, but it has also reduced the need to ask for further information from both clients and professionals.

Through forging strong links with local support organisations and expanding its reach through hospices and libraries, the team continually improves lives.

‘A lot of people’s housing situations change as a result of a cancer diagnosis,’ explains project manager David Gibb. ‘We didn’t want to have to refer a person to another service after ours, where they had to tell their story and build up trust all over again. We knew we could offer more to help, alongside the benefits advice.’

‘Our service is all about making a financial difference. But often, by doing that, we lift another burden as well. We take some stress away and give people the time to concentrate on their recovery and treatment.’

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Fiona Sneddon, Partnership Quality Lead.


Macmillan Next Steps Cancer Rehabilitation Team

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust

People with cancer often feel worn down and abandoned when their treatment ends. In Gloucestershire, the Macmillan Next Steps Cancer Rehabilitation service provides a bridge between the hospital and the community for people with breast, colorectal or prostate cancer. This unique service is making a positive impact on so many lives by supporting people to look to the future with hope.

The team of Allied Health Professionals and Healthy Lifestyle Specialists offer one-to-one consultations, depending on their needs. They also host an extensive range of group activities, from the Taking Control course, to ballet classes, Fitbit groups and Nordic walking. Not only is the service meeting the holistic needs of patients, but it’s also become an invaluable source of support for healthcare professionals too. So far, the team has helped over 1,600 healthcare and fitness professionals to boost their own wellbeing through resilience and mindfulness training.

‘We’re a one-stop shop for patients,’ explains Nikola Hawkins, the service’s lead. ‘We don’t want to bounce them between too many people or services – whatever someone needs, we can deal with it in-house. Our team includes physiotherapy specialists, a cardiac and cancer rehabilitation personal trainer, a dietetic specialist and many more experts who can help people get back to doing the things that bring them joy.

‘When people first come to us, we see them in tears and we see them broken. But when people are finished with us, we see them standing tall, glowing and confident. We’ve got a great model, and it’s been taken up by other rehab services around the country, so we’re very proud of that.’

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Gillian Thistlewood, Partnership Quality Lead.


Naomi McCay, Macmillan Work Support and Vocational Rehabilitation Project Manager

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

In Northern Ireland, more than 3,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer every year. Returning to work has been proven to aid people’s recovery. However, many employees fear the illness will end their working lives because employers won’t welcome them back or understand their needs. Naomi, a Macmillan Work, Support and Vocational Rehabilitation Project Manager, is taking huge strides to combat this. Thanks to her hard work, any person in Northern Ireland who has had cancer and wants to go back to work will now receive the support they need to do so.

Naomi has integrated work support into clinical pathways, allowing clinical staff to refer patients of working age to a work support service at a Macmillan Information and Support Service. As part of this, she has trained Macmillan information professionals to help people discuss any concerns they have and to identify what support they need to prepare for a successful return to work. These professionals are now able to support people to have conversations with their employers and to refer them to local specialist employment support services.

Naomi has also trained providers in work support services to better understand the needs of people who have had cancer. What’s more, she has worked with partners to deliver workshops for employers to ensure they understand their responsibility to provide a positive working environment for employees with cancer.

‘Getting people who have had cancer back to work, and giving them some financial stability back, can really lift their stress levels,’ says Naomi. ‘Most of it comes down to better communication. We’re able to give people the words they need to explain how they are feeling, and to feel more confident about asking for their employers for support.’

If you have any questions about Naomi’s work please email Claire Black, Partnership Quality Lead.


Service Improvement Excellence Award finalists

Mary Hayes, Head of Cancer and End of Life Care

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Since becoming a Macmillan Palliative Care CNS in 1998, Mary has dedicated herself to providing excellent patient-centred leadership for cancer services across Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. In her current role as Head of Cancer and End of Life Care, she has spearheaded service improvements that have given people with cancer better lives, and better deaths.

The numerous initiatives led by Mary include the redesign of teams and services within the Trust to ensure the patient is the prime focus. She has also implemented innovative, patient-centred education programmes for nurses and introduced skill-mix to the workforce through new roles such as Macmillan support workers. What’s more, inspired by a patient, she created the Time Garden at Frimley Park Hospital – a peaceful and secluded outdoor space for terminally ill patients and their families. The beautiful courtyard garden was specially designed to enable easy movement of bed-bound patients and provide as much privacy for them as possible.

‘It was all about getting patients outside,’ says Mary. ‘At the end of life, the little things that others might take for granted are really critical – things like hearing a bird sing or seeing the sun and the sky. ‘I’m interested in being creative, thinking outside of the box and doing things differently. I’m interested in change that is pragmatic, realistic, achievable and sustainable – and it must benefit the patient. That is the ultimate goal for me.’

If you have any questions about Mary’s work please email Shirley Edghill, Partnership Quality Lead.


Macmillan Older People's Haemato-Oncology Liaison Service

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

A Macmillan report called Cancer services coming of age: Learning from the improving cancer treatment assessment and support for older people project identified a number of inequalities in cancer care for older adults.

Haematologists at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre recognised this as an area for development so, with funding from Macmillan, the Macmillan Older People’s Haemato-Oncology Liaison Service was born. The collaboration sees geriatricians working alongside haematology teams to improve access to curative chemotherapy for older patients, reduce hospital stays and improve health outcomes.

Early interventions are a key component of the service. By regularly reviewing the pre-existing health conditions, medications and frailty levels of patients, the team maximises the chances of treatment being successful and reduces the need for hospital readmissions.

Inpatients and outpatients are offered a comprehensive geriatric assessment, after which they receive the support that best suits them. Dedicated outpatient clinics provide care and management for those with multiple medical conditions including cancer. These clinics offer support to help people remain living at home, as well as joint assessment – something which was not routinely possible before this service.

'Lymphoma is debilitating, but it can be easily treated with chemotherapy,' says Donna Kelly, the team's Elderly Care Liaison CNS. ‘Older patients can be rehabilitated, it just takes longer than it does for people under the age of 65. In the past, some of these patients who would have been very frail would have been referred to hospice care rather than being given the chance to get back on their feet. There was a need to get frailer patients fitter so that they could offer them treatment for something that’s potentially curable.

'It's so satisfying to see someone who thought they’d never be able to have chemotherapy getting chemotherapy and doing really well.'

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Claire Alexander, Partnership Quality Lead.


Macmillan Health & Wellbeing and Clinical Nurse Specialist Team

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

Driven to combat the notion of aftercare being an afterthought, the Macmillan Health and Wellbeing and Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist Team have led the redesign of cancer services within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. The team has spent the past four years reshaping care delivery, harnessing technology and developing new workforce roles to ensure empowering, person-centred care.

The team’s achievements are many and varied, and include the development of new stratified pathways for follow-up care, nurse-led cancer review clinics, and health and wellbeing events. A core standard of care today is for all patients to undergo holistic assessment at key points throughout the patient pathway, and to access services rapidly when required.

‘It’s very important that the health and wellbeing message runs through the whole patient journey,’ explains Caroline Lynas, the service’s lead. ‘We reinforce the fact that we’re there for patients at all stages throughout the cancer journey. We want them to identify any concerns as early as possible, so patients and families can get the help they need.’

‘Our feedback has shown us that patients are physically and emotionally stronger,’ says Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Karen Kelly. ‘They’re more empowered to talk about their health concerns, they’re better equipped to understand their bodies, they’re dealing with their emotional health, and they’re getting support on a wide range of things like returning to work.’

‘One of our mottos is, “Nothing about me without me”,’ adds Macmillan Head and Neck Clinical Nurse Specialist Cherith Semple. ‘The patient is at the heart of our service. That’s where we start and that’s where we stay.’

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Claire Black, Partnership Manager.


Macmillan Cystectomy Enhanced Recovery Program Team

University College London Hospitals

People with advanced bladder cancer are often elderly and require a radical cystectomy (a removal of the bladder) which is a very major operation, often involving the removal of other organs as well as the bladder itself. However, given the complex nature of the operation and the co-morbidities of the patients, numerous pre-operative appointments can cause delays to surgery. To give patients a more joined-up experience, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) established a one-stop multidisciplinary enhanced recovery clinic – and it has radically transformed the patient experience.

The Cystectomy Enhanced Recovery Program at UCLH is a clinic where six patients get to see six professionals – including a nurse specialist, surgeon, anaesthetist, and stoma nurse – in one day. As a result, patients are treated more quickly because they don’t need to make multiple journeys to the hospital. What’s more, because they get the opportunity to talk things through with the whole team, their anxieties are alleviated, and they are educated and clinically well prepared for surgery.

‘Patients are often really anxious when they come to us,’ explains Consultant Anaesthetist Melanie Tan. ‘They have lots of questions about the surgery. When they come to the clinic, they get furnished with information throughout the day. By the end of the clinic, each person knows what to expect of their surgery and their post-operative stay. When things are outlined like that for a patient, they feel a bit clearer. They know what’s going to happen to them, and that relieves a lot of the anxiety.’

‘The clinic has reduced length of stay, mortality and morbidity is low, and patients feel well supported following their cystectomy,’ adds Hilary Baker, the Macmillan Lead CNS for Uro-Oncology. ‘The success all comes down to the fact we work collaboratively as a team.’

If you have any questions about the team’s work please email Louisa Daly, Partnership Quality Lead.