System redesign partnerships

Working in partnership to improve cancer care and support.

National event - Driving Change Together

Working in Partnership to Improve the Cancer Journey

Macmillan hosted an event at Manchester Town Hall in May 2017 to bring together the most influential people from across the UK who are working in partnership to improve the cancer journey. 

The event:

  • Brought together health and social care leaders, professionals and people affected by cancer, who are involved in successful system redesign partnerships.
  • Shared best practice gleaned from over 30 large scale partnership programmes across the UK, and mapped out the impact they are already having.
  • Shared learning about what is working best for patients and staff, and what roadblocks to avoid when redesigning cancer care systems.
  • Helped to build relationships, allowing opportunities to connect with the right people to help you drive programmes forward.
  • Included topical keynote speakers and a panel of professionals from across the spectrum of services to discuss current issues and offer insight.

Visit our event page for links to the presentations.


What is system redesign?

Improved diagnosis and treatment mean people with cancer are living longer after their diagnosis than they did 40 years ago. Cancer is increasingly about living with cancer, and there are many people experiencing issues that require support several years after an initial diagnosis and treatment.

To help meet this challenge, Macmillan Cancer Support is implementing innovative, large-scale partnership programmes to ensure people affected by cancer are receiving the best possible support.

This involves working at a whole system level, not just focusing on single interventions but thinking about how it all fits together. Through these partnership programmes we aim to give people living with cancer the best possible holistic care and support.


Who is involved with system redesign?

Macmillan is working with health and social care providers, service commissioners, government bodies, other charities, health and social care professionals and people affected by cancer to change the way cancer care and support is delivered.

Our system redesign work involves making changes at a level that can transform cancer services within a whole system of care in a local area. This means integrating care across community and hospital settings to benefit patients on different pathways. It means professionals and service users co-creating solutions to improve access to good information and support at every stage of the journey.

These services are delivered and commissioned by many organisations, so no one organisation can redesign the whole cancer care system on their own. Constantly changing environment, agendas and priorities can make this work highly complex. These partnership programmes help to cut through that complexity to focus on what adds real value to people affected by cancer.

People affected by cancer are the reason services exist, and their personal experience of cancer puts them in a unique position to contribute to any redesign of care and support.

In every system redesign partnership, we ensure that people affected by cancer have a voice so that service improvements are based on what really matters to them.

John sits in an armchair in front of a window talking to the camera.

Alan's story

Alan describes why he became involved in his local programme, as a result of his wife’s cancer journey.

Alan's story

Alan describes why he became involved in his local programme, as a result of his wife’s cancer journey.


What does a system redesign project change?

People usually receive excellent clinical care for their cancer, but the surrounding processes can often be fragmented and complex. Services may not have been set up to meet the emotional, financial and practical needs that people affected by cancer often experience.

Macmillan can help to simplify and improve that process, so that people’s holistic needs are assessed with them at key points in their care.

We help to join up services so that people affected by cancer can get the best support. This might mean help with accessing benefits, counselling, or physical activity programmes, or it might mean the provision of extra staff such as specialist nurses or link workers.

Laura sits at a low table talking to another woman

Laura's story

Laura describes the difference that having access to her local programme made to her cancer journey.

Laura's story

Laura describes the difference that having access to her local programme made to her cancer journey.


What we're aiming for

We're aiming for:

  • A more skilled, knowledgeable cancer workforce able to provide compassionate and holistic care and support, valuing the experience of people living with cancer.
  • Earlier assessment – and assessment at key transitions – of the holistic needs of people living with cancer and the creation of a comprehensive plan to meet them.
  • Greater confidence among people living with cancer about what to expect throughout their cancer journey, what is expected of them and what good support looks like.
  • More flexibility and responsiveness among organisations and professionals within the system, working together to provide care and support in an integrated way.

We want people living with cancer to be able to:

  • Make informed choices, shaping their care and navigating the system
  • Have a better experience of care and support
  • Experience a better quality of life at all stages of their cancer journey


How have people benefited from the work so far?

93% of patients surveyed in Glasgow agreed or strongly agreed that support from their link officer had reduced their feelings of isolation. Patients surveyed in Glasgow also reported a 50% reduction in stress after completing a holistic needs assessment.

(Source: Improving the Cancer Journey, Glasgow) 

In a project in Northern Ireland, there was a 39% reduction in the duplication of review appointments between breast surgical and oncology, and a 28% reduction in breast surgical waiting lists.

(Source: Transforming Cancer Follow up, Northern Ireland)

In Yorkshire, confidence of primary care nurses to support people affected by cancer rose from 31% to 75% following 'Living with and beyond cancer' training.

(Source: South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire Survivorship Programme)