Caught in the Maze

Read our latest policy report, which focuses on why personalised, integrated care for people with cancer in the UK needs improving.

What does good personalised, integrated care look like for people with cancer?

Our latest report, Caught in the Maze, takes stock of how far the UK’s health and care services still need to go on integration for high-quality, personalised cancer care to be a reality for everyone.

The report highlights that experiences of cancer services are far from seamless. People with cancer are still falling into the cracks between primary and secondary care: information is not always tailored to individual needs; support for wider needs, including mental health, is patchy and often delayed. Cancer professionals and the wider workforce are working flat out, but the system is too geared towards rapid measurement of diagnosis and treatment. Personalised care is too often an ‘add on’.

Our analysis suggests there are four key dimensions to personalised, integrated cancer care that need to be addressed:

  1. Everyone with cancer can access personalised, joined-up care.
    Personalised care is essential to meet the diverse needs that people with cancer experience along their journey. Sadly the report highlighted that not everyone can access this tailored support at all stages of their cancer journey.
  2. People with cancer are supported by health and care professionals consistently working together.
    Cancer professionals provide exceptional, dedicated support for people with cancer. However, sometimes coordination across settings falls down, affecting people’s care.
  3. People with cancer receive personalised, integrated care across services provided by different parts of the system.
    Care is still organised around hospitals, not always around the needs of the individual. Integrated care often breaks down during transitions between services and needs are overlooked – for example, around follow-up care after discharge and mental health support.
  4. Services are designed, commissioned and funded around the goal of personalised, integrated cancer care.
    The fragmentation of cancer funding, commissioning and provision mean that services are not always aligned around the needs of the individual.

What we are calling for

Macmillan wants governments across the UK and local systems to:

  • review the funding, commissioning and targets for cancer care so that health and care services deliver better joined-up care for people with cancer
  • make personalised care, including navigation support, available for everyone with cancer, throughout their cancer journey
  • publish a fully funded workforce strategy to address gaps in the cancer and wider health and care workforce
  • increase skill mix, encourage collaboration between professionals, as well as learning from other conditions
  • ensure that cancer services at all levels incorporate the experiences of people living with cancer.

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