Innovation Excellence Award

This category celebrates four winners who have introduced a new approach to service or product development and delivery.

2019 Winners

The East Midlands Brain Metastases Service team.

Macmillan East Midlands Brain Metastases Service

Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust

Historically, people with brain metastases in the East Midlands didn’t get the best treatment and care. That all changed when the pioneering Macmillan East Midlands Brain Metastases Service was established.

This multidisciplinary team of oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, palliative care physicians, specialist nurses and radiographers meet weekly to talk about the needs of approximately 30 patients and design individual holistic care plans to help them.

Because the service is based at Nottingham University Hospitals, an impressive 2.9 million people are now within an hour’s drive of a treatment centre and more patients can receive stereotactic radiosurgery and neurosurgery.

Macmillan Clinical Fellow Michael O’Cathail says, ‘To make the service as accessible as possible, we also offer the option of virtual clinics via video link.’

‘Setting up a multidisciplinary team for brain metastases has been key,’ adds Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist Rebecca Bentley. 'Now the people who specialise in this area are getting more time to discuss how best to help patients, which is better for everyone.’

If you would like to find out more about the team’s work, please email Mandy Edwards, Partnership Quality Lead.


The Rapid Diagnostic Centre Team.

Rapid Diagnostic Centre Team

Swansea Bay University Health Board

People with vague symptoms can wait a long time for a cancer diagnosis, as they don’t fit into any particular pathway. However, the innovative Rapid Diagnostic Centre at Neath Port Talbot Hospital is addressing the situation with outstanding results.

GPs can refer patients directly to the centre where an expert team conducts as many tests as are necessary to get a diagnosis – often all on the same day. This incredible ‘one-stop shop’ has improved patients’ outcomes by speeding up a process that can otherwise take weeks.

‘Before, people with non-specific symptoms would bounce around the system for 90 days – now they get a diagnosis in five,’ says Clinical GP Lead, Heather Wilkes.

Consultant Radiologist Sian Phillips says, ‘It’s great to be able to do everything in one fell swoop and take a multidisciplinary approach. It’s also very cost effective.’

Macmillan Rapid Diagnostics Clinical Nurse Specialist Catherine Lloyd-Bennett adds, ‘Patients leave the clinic with a diagnosis, a plan, a point of contact and the reassurance that things will be managed quickly.’

If you would like to find out more about the team’s work, please email Jonathan Long, Partnership Quality Lead.


The Specialist Palliative Care Team.

Specialist Palliative Care Team

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

30% of adult patients admitted to hospital are likely to be in their last year of life and may need palliative care. Huddersfield Royal Infirmary had a reactive team of Specialist Palliative Care Nurses, but these types of patients were not being routinely referred to them. To make sure patients received the symptom control and support they needed, the team put two of their nurses at the ‘front end’ of the hospital to proactively seek out referrals.

Helen Harris and Julie Wood negotiated an office on the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) so that they could quickly identify the patients who needed their help. As a result, they’re now able to respond to patient needs immediately, avoid any unnecessary future hospital admissions and advise acute staff about end of life care.

Thanks to this dynamic duo, a previously invisible group of patients is now well recognised.

‘Being on site has been absolutely critical to our success,’ says Helen. ‘It’s not enough to just turn up to a couple of ward rounds a week or just pop in. You really have to be there.’

If you would like to find out more about the team’s work, please email Lisa Spivey, Partnership Quality Lead.


The C Factor team.

The C-Factor Team

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Created in response to the limited capacity of the Cancer Care Psychology Service at the Whittington Hospital, The C-Factor is a unique therapeutic group approach delivered through storytelling and applied theatre. Patients attend eight workshops, where they explore the cancer experience via the story of ‘Ricky’ – a character played by actor Adam McGuigan.

The C-Factor creates a non-intrusive way for people to learn, reflect and feel empowered because they can talk about Ricky’s cancer story rather than their own. With costumes, songs and instruments, participants say the sessions are a joyful experience at an otherwise challenging time.

‘Every week, Ricky updates the group on his situation,’ explains Adam. ‘It’s usually quite comical and people can share their cancer experiences too if they want to. It’s all about making things a bit easier and sparking a conversation.’

Macmillan Information and Support Manager Tracey Palmer adds, ‘It's quite unusual to see people who are going through treatment having fun. The C-Factor is uplifting as well as therapeutic and that’s what makes it so different.’

If you would like to find out more about the team’s work, please email Rachael Yearwood, Partnership Quality Lead.