How to apply for the MQEM award

Your step-by-step guide to applying for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark ®.

How to apply

Step 1 - Read the handbook

Step 2 - Self-assessment

Completing the self assessment tool is a valuable exercise in understanding how well your environment meets the MQEM standards. A Macmillan Development Manager may have already given you this tool. If not, you can request a copy by emailing the MQEM team.


Step 3 - Apply for external assessment

After completing the self-assessment, if your overall score is 4 or above (pass level) you are able to apply for an external assessment.

Your facility will be assessed by independent assessors from DNV GL, a global provider of quality and risk management services.  For more information on DNV GL please click here

Please note: as you will be receiving ongoing support from Macmillan and assessments every three years, we will charge you a one-off fee of £1,000 plus VAT upon application for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark. All organisations that include a Macmillan service (including professional posts or facilities) are exempt from this charge. Facilities owned or managed by a charity are also exempt.


Do you meet the mark?

Design and use of space

Assessors will measure how clearly entrances are signposted, and whether the reception area is warm and welcoming. Privacy is an important aspect - do you have consultation rooms? Are screens available on request?



Is your facility easily accessible to everyone in the local area? For instance, what is the cost and availability of car parking? Assessors will look at how staff communicate with people about finding the facility - for example, do they send out public transport timetables or clear maps prior to appointments?


Service experience

The quality of your service will be assessed. Points go to facilities which provide healthy meals, and where people are able to make their own hot and cold drinks. Assessors will look for high standards of cleanliness and tidiness throughout your facility, maintained through regular checks. Are patients able to control their personal environment? For instance, can you choose the lighting and temperature in a room? Natural light and gardens are also high priorities.


User voice

However outstanding a facility may appear, a big piece of the puzzle is missing if it doesn’t involve people with cancer in its on going development. For this reason, assessors will look into the level of ‘user involvement’ your unit provides. And most importantly, they’ll look for evidence that these views are being taken seriously and turned into concrete change.


Frequently asked questions

How do I obtain a copy of the MQEM self-assessment tool and do I need to complete this before applying for the formal assessment?

The MQEM self-assessment tool is a copy of the current quality standards and this enables you to prepare for the formal assessment and to score your facility against each criteria. We do not recommend that you apply for formal assessment without completing the self-assessment as the pass level for MQEM standards is an overall 4 or above. Please email the MQEM team for a copy of the standards.


Do I need to return my completed self-assessment?

You should retain the completed self-assessment and this will help inform the discussion at your formal assessment.


How long does my facility have to be operational before I can apply for MQEM?

To be eligible to apply for MQEM your facility needs to have been operational for at least 12 months and at least 80% of your service must be cancer related.


Why apply for the award?

Inspire confidence

When people see the award it will give people confidence in your unit, particularly when they’re choosing where to be treated.


Be innovative

You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you’re involved in a cutting-edge initiative, that’s the first of its kind in the UK.


Set standards

If you’re based in England, gaining the award will mean you’ve fulfilled one of the priorities set out in the Cancer Reform Strategy, showing that you’ve set standards others will need to follow and learn from.

If you receive the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark, we will help you maintain your high standards and take them to the next level, providing ongoing support and advice. We will reassess you every three years to ensure that the standards in your facility are being maintained and improved.

We also work with facilities that don’t meet the criteria for the award, supporting them in finding appropriate help and funding.


The mark gives patients reassurance that the unit is regularly checked and that we’re maintaining a high quality environment for them, which will be portrayed in the care they receive.

Sarah Rickels, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist