Quality Improvement Excellence Award

This category recognises four winners who have made significant improvements within an existing service offered to people living with cancer.

2019 Winners

The Highland Welfare Benefits Service team.

Macmillan Highland Welfare Benefits Service

Highland Citizens Advice Bureau

People living with cancer should be able to focus on their health, without worrying about how to make ends meet when they can’t work. Unfortunately, Universal Credit has left people waiting for weeks to receive their payment, and has led to hardship, stress and anxiety. In Inverness, the Macmillan Highland Welfare Benefits Service team has worked tenaciously to reduce Universal Credit’s worst impacts.

The team partnered with their local Jobcentre to develop ways of getting terminally ill people through the system more quickly. They improved access to the online-only benefit by purchasing a notebook computer to help people without computer access to apply for it. They also campaign locally and nationally on the issue and influenced their local MP to set up an All Party Parliamentary Group on terminal illness.

‘We want Universal Credit to be properly administered and fair,’ says Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service Manager Elaine Donnelly. ‘We’re going to keep on helping people and keep on making noise.’

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


The Prostate Brachytherapy Team.

Prostate Brachytherapy Team

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

High-dose rate brachytherapy is a cutting-edge treatment that can improve cure rates and reduce treatment times and side effects for people with prostate cancer. Patients in Norfolk who wanted the treatment had to make exhausting journeys to Cambridge or London – until the launch of a new service in Norwich.

To establish the service, the Prostate Brachytherapy team worked closely with many divisions across the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. They also raised more than £600,000 to fund a dedicated treatment suite.

Now, instead of having to undergo seven and a half weeks of radiotherapy, patients can have three weeks of radiotherapy and then brachytherapy treatment as a boost – and close to home, too. People across Norfolk now have a wider range of treatments to choose from and the option of making fewer hospital visits.

‘You can't underestimate how much it means to reduce the number of hospital visits that the patient needs to make,’ says Lead Brachytherapy Clinical Scientist Vicki Currie. ‘Knowing that we’re making treatment shorter for patients is a huge thing.’

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


Winner, Justin Trewren, with an award.

Justin Trewren

Macmillan Fast Track Facilitator, Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust

Many people with cancer, who would prefer to die at home, end up dying in hospital as limited resources are available to coordinate complex discharges. In Wakefield, this is being worked through with the help of a rapid discharge pathway for end of life care. It’s being managed by Macmillan Fast Track Facilitator, Justin Trewren.

Not only has the project established standard operating procedures for the pathway, a 72-hour target for discharging patients to their preferred place of care has been put into effect. What’s more, the prescribing process for anticipatory medicines has been sped up and Justin has created an education programme to inform staff about the rapid discharge pathway.

‘If somebody who's at the end of their life needs to go home, I’ll bring the relevant parties together, coordinate everything and get them home on the same day,’ explains Justin.

‘Communication is key, and I have very meaningful conversations with patients’ families, so they understand what they're facing. You only die once, so we only get one chance to get it right.’

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


The Urology Team.

Urology Team

Barts Health NHS Trust

Everyone living with cancer should receive the best care, wherever they are. For urological cancer patients at the Barts Health NHS Trust, this wasn’t always the case. Nursing services were siloed across four hospitals, so an improvement initiative was launched to deliver the same care in each one.

The team implemented a model of cross-site working across the trust and all of the sites. They also combined the complementary skills of Cancer Nurse Specialists (CNSs) and benign CNSs to benefit patients. The nurses designed new pathways in collaboration with patients, developing initiatives such as group teaching sessions that take place at key points of a person’s cancer experience.

Their improvements have been so novel and effective that the team have been invited to present their work internationally and share best practice.

‘The changes that we’ve made are completely patient centred,’ says Lead Urology Nurse Paula Allchorne. ‘We asked what our patients really wanted, rather than assuming we already knew. The voices of patients are more powerful than anything.’

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