The Recovery Package

The Recovery Package has four main interventions. Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning, Treatment Summary, Cancer Care Review, and Health and Wellbeing Events. These elements form part of an overall support and self-management package for people affected by cancer – physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, managing consequences of treatment, and information, financial and work support.

The Recovery Package is recognised in the NHS England Five Year Forward View and the Cancer Taskforce Strategy which outlines a commitment to ensuring that ‘every person with cancer has access to the elements of the Recovery Package by 2020’. The roll out of these interventions will better support and improve the quality of life of people living with and beyond cancer.

For key materials on the Recovery Package please visit our downloads and resources page.

Read our monthly articles from a commissioner in Bristol who shares her experience implementing sustainable, patient-centred cancer support services like the Recovery Package.

Roy, a Haematology Nurse Practitioner, talks about the Recovery Package.

The Recovery Package

Find out more about the Recovery Package, and how it support people living with cancer.

Further resources and downloads

The Recovery Package

Find out more about the Recovery Package, and how it support people living with cancer.

Further resources and downloads

Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning

What is a Holistic Needs Assessment and how does it help?

An HNA ensures that people’s physical, practical, emotional, spiritual and social needs are met in a timely and appropriate way, and that resources are targeted to those who need them most. An HNA is a simple questionnaire that is completed by a person living with cancer. It allows them to highlight the most important issues to them at that time, to inform the development of a care and support plan with their nurse or key worker. The questionnaire can be completed on paper, or electronically (eHNA).

The evidence shows that providing a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA), along with care and support planning, contributes to a better understanding and identification of a person's concerns. It also enables early intervention and diagnosis of side effects or consequences of treatment.

Evidence also suggests that a person’s holistic needs are likely to change at key points in their cancer journey, such as after diagnosis, at the end of treatment, or if something else affects their health or social needs. Having an HNA at these points helps to identify the issues that need to be discussed, and can be used to continually inform a person's care and support plan.

We want everyone living with or beyond cancer to be offered an HNA, along with a care and support plan, at key stages in their cancer pathway.

The information gathered from an HNA can also be shared with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and the person’s GP, to improve management and care. Any data collected can be used to influence service developments and the commissioning of future services.

If you would like help to implement the HNA in your setting, browse our Recovery Package resources.

Why should I use the NHA? Click the play button to watch our illustration video.

Why should I use the HNA?

Watch our two videos on how to use the HNA.

Why should I use the HNA?

Watch our two videos on how to use the HNA.


Electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA)

The eHNA allows a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) to be completed electronically, on a variety of different devices. This includes most smartphones, tablets and digital devices with a web browser. The answers provided are then securely sent to the clinician, to begin the process of care and support planning.

Care and support plans can be printed, saved or shared with the patient and their health care team. Each team has access to its own data for reporting and analysis, and to identify local service needs. Anonymous data collected from the assessments and care plans can be used to look at the overall needs of different groups of people. This can help to inform the planning of local cancer services.

If your organisation isn't using the Macmillan eHNA, please sign up. Need help? We have created an eHNA sign up guide [PDF] to help you.

If you have any questions, please contact the team.

Treatment Summaries

A Treatment Summary is a document (or record) completed by secondary care professionals, usually the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) after a significant phase of a patients cancer treatment. It describes the treatment, potential side effects, and signs and symptoms of recurrence. It is designed to be shared with the person living with cancer and their GP.

The Treatment Summary aims to inform the GP and other primary care professionals of actions that need to be taken and who to contact with any questions or concerns. The person affected by cancer also receives a copy to improve their understanding and to know if there is anything to look out for during their recovery.

It also provides the GP with an up-to-date and clear understanding of the patient’s treatment. This can include information that is essential for updating their records and for conducting a Cancer Care Review. It also includes the GP READ codes. These are a well established method of classifying and recording disease status and treatment activity in an electronic format.

The Treatment Summary can also be shared with other health professionals and used to evidence the patient’s treatment, for example when claiming travel insurance. A copy of the Treatment Summary is retained in the patients case notes so medical staff can access the patients information easily if they are admitted back to hospital after their primary treatment is complete.

Treatment Summaries can be completed on paper or electronically. Macmillan provides paper based templates for Treatment Summaries in the form of refillable triplicate packs that are easy to use and free to order from be.Macmillan.

Macmillan also develops and updates electronic Treatment Summary templates that are hosted on leading secondary care systems such as Somerset Cancer Register and InfoFlex. If you use an in-house cancer information management system and would like advice about adding the Treatment Summary template, or for any other information please contact the Recovery package team.

For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

Cancer Care Review

This is a discussion between a patient and their GP or practice nurse about their cancer journey. It helps the person affected by cancer understand what information and support is available to them in their local area, open up about their cancer experience and enable supported self-management.

When delivering a CCR some patients may be accompanied by a carer and, with permission from the patient, they can act as an advocate when discussing their care. A carer can often help turn any recommendations into manageable solutions for the person they care for.

Our Ten Top Tips for carrying out an effective CCR can help ensure they deliver benefits for both patients and professionals.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) requires all general practitioners (GPs) to carry out a CCR with a person affected by cancer, within six months of receiving notification of a diagnosis.

The QOF lacks clarity about what the CCR should consist of and what is helpful and necessary to include. As a result, the current experience of a CCR for the person affected by cancer can be variable.

Macmillan are working with leading GP IT system providers, INPS Vision, SystmOne and EMIS, to develop electronic CCR templates similar to those for other chronic diseases to ensure consistency and quality.

Want to know more? Email the Recovery Package team. For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

Health and Wellbeing Events

Health and Wellbeing Events are designed to help people affected by cancer and their family and friends get the support they need during and after cancer treatment.

Health and Wellbeing Events can provide information and support on:

  • Benefits and other financial support
  • How to get back to work
  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Long-term side-effects of treatment
  • Specific cancers
  • Local services.

How Health and Wellbeing Events benefit people affected by cancer

Evidence has shown that patients who attended a Health and Wellbeing Event have:

  • Better knowledge of the signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence and consequences of treatment.
  • More confidence to question or challenge information and make informed decisions about their health.
  • More confidence to deal with the physical discomfort and emotional distress associated with cancer and its treatment.
  • A strong sense of reassurance -  even if the services are not needed at that time, they know what’s available and how to access them in the future.

How Health and Wellbeing Events can benefit your organisation

Health and Wellbeing Events can help provide better patient outcomes, reduce unplanned admissions to hospital and help to meet the quality agenda through:
  • Delivering health care messages in an informal and relaxed setting.
  • Earlier intervention and improved outcomes. 
  • Using healthcare resources effectively. 
  • Giving people direct referrals where necessary, making it easier to access relevant services for the support they need. 
  • Sharing techniques to help self manage their health and well-being which will improve their quality of life and  lessen their need for services. 
  • Creating the opportunity to meet other people with similar experiences, providing reassurance, reducing anxiety and the sense of isolation, for both people living with cancer, their carers and families. 
  • Adding value through volunteers. 
For downloads and additional information visit our Recovery Package resources page.

A middle-aged man with grey hair talks to the camera

Watch: Health and wellbeing events

Watch: Health and wellbeing events


The concept of the Recovery Package was developed and tested by the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (2008-2013) - a partnership of Macmillan Cancer Support, Department of Health and NHS England. This partnership aimed to assist people living with a diagnosis of cancer to prepare for the future, and identify their individual concerns and support needs. This would then enable people to return to as near a normal lifestyle as possible, including returning to work.

The National Cancer Survivorship Initiative was also developed to complement stratified care pathways and enable individualised follow-up care such as a supported self-management, shared care or complex care. Download the full report [PDF].