Innovation Excellence Award

This category celebrates the three winners whose vision and commitment has made a lasting difference to the quality of services offered to people affected by cancer.

Macmillan Head and Neck Oncology Speech and Language Therapy Team, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Macmillan Head and Neck Oncology Speech and Language Therapy Team have designed a reliable and exemplary service that manages one of the heaviest caseloads in the country. By using a predictive model to identify patients at risk of swallowing difficulties before radiotherapy treatment begins, the team are significantly reducing hospital admissions. Their proactive approach involves offering education, therapy and exercises to patients in order to improve their outcomes. What’s more, the new model is a shining example of using resources effectively and responsively.

‘Before this service, patients often weren’t being reached until they’d hit crisis point, but now we’re preventing that from happening,’ says Emma Taylor, who leads the team. ‘We’re reducing our patients’ struggles with eating and drinking, and we’re helping them to stay at home and be as well as possible.’

‘The feedback we get from patients is always really positive,’ adds team member Olivia Clarke. ‘They tell us that everything is done really quickly, they don’t have to wait, and our service is joined up with our colleagues, from consultants to dietitians to nurses. What’s more, patients know that we’re just a phone call away.’

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


Integrated Assessment Map (IAM) Portal Project Team, University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

The IAM Portal Project Team is improving the cancer journey for teenagers and young people by making their voices central to their care. Patients complete an innovative digital holistic needs assessment on the portal, and the results form the backbone of MDT discussions about their needs. Users can also utilise the portal to find a comprehensive range of age-appropriate information, and to contact their medical team with any concerns. The third component of the portal is SWIMMS – a bespoke MDT management system which allows professionals across the region to register young people with the TYA service; provides a way to manage and record MDT meeting activity, including the generation of a care plan; and the production of activity data reports for service management purposes. The portal, which was jointly funded by Macmillan and Teenage Cancer Trust, is now being taken forward nationally.

‘We wanted a simple framework for good conversations within MDTs,’ says Jamie Cargill from the team. ‘There wasn’t anything already out there, so we had to develop something of our own. We wanted to create a digital platform that offered access to good advice, particularly around psychological and social support, and that allowed patients to contact the team and tell them what they’re worried about.’

‘Because the self-assessment element of the portal is central to MDT discussions, many clinicians have told us that it’s made them think differently about engaging with young people. They realise that they should be talking about their patients’ wider needs and not just about drugs and surgery. It’s been fantastic to see people change their practice as a result of the portal.’

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


Sharon Manning, Macmillan Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

When Macmillan Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist Sharon read about cutting-edge permanent catheters that would help her palliative ovarian cancer patients, she pushed hard for funding. Thanks to her dedication, passion and persuasive prowess, Sharon’s efforts were successful. She now runs a life-changing service that allows patients to have a build-up of ascetic fluid drained from their abdomen at home rather than in hospital. As well as dramatically improving the quality of life of patients, the innovative service has also saved at least £68,000 on hospital admissions. It is currently being rolled out in Wales.

‘For ovarian cancer patients, the effects of ascetic fluid build-up can be huge,’ says Sharon. ‘The weight of the fluid is enormous, and people feel like their cancer is taking over and being pushed in their face. When you’re repeatedly putting drains into patients in hospital, their skin gets tougher, it causes scars, and it hurts them. I thought, “There must be something better than this,” so I went away and did some research, and that’s where the idea came from.’

‘I was tenacious because, more than anything, I believed in this service,’ she adds. ‘I wanted these ladies to have better quality care in their palliative stages. That’s what it’s all about. It was fantastic to have a flicker of a vision and then to make it actually happen.’

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


Sharon Manning has also been selected as a Macmillan Fellow for her outstanding achievements. As a Fellow, Sharon can access a grant of up to £10,000 and would like to gain a teaching qualification to help her deliver and share her work through lectures, MDT’s and conferences.