National cancer strategies and plans

Governments and healthcare leaders must set clear and ambitious plans to improve care and support for people affected by cancer.

We believe it is important that governments and healthcare leaders in the four UK nations set out clear and ambitious plans for how they are going to improve care and support for people affected by cancer and are held to account for delivery.

We are working in each nation to ensure plans are in place that reflect the needs and experience of people affected by cancer and have the necessary funding and leadership to drive real improvements on the ground.

Caught in the Maze - read the report

Our report, Caught in the Maze: delivering personalised, integrated care for people with cancer, 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.

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.
  2. People with cancer are supported by health and care professionals consistently working together.
  3. People with cancer receive personalised, integrated care across services provided by different parts of the system.
  4. Services are designed, commissioned and funded around the goal of personalised, integrated cancer care.
Find out more about what Macmillan is calling for from UK government and local systems.

One Size Doesn't Fit All - read the report

What should the NHS focus on in the long-term plan?

Our report, One Size Doesn’t Fit All: why we need to make cancer care in the NHS more personal, reflects on a collection of personal stories from people affected by cancer about being diagnosed and treated in the NHS today. The report also outlines our priorities for the new long-term funding settlement highlighting the areas where there is still work to do to ensure the NHS in England can deliver better coordinated, personalised and world-class cancer care.

Some of the changes we want to see include:

  • More focus on the non-clinical outcomes, such as quality of life, patient experience and the emotional consequences of receiving a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • Effective integration and coordination of services across and between health and social care settings. These must ensure everyone is given all the information and support they need about their cancer journey.
  • An urgent focus on supporting the development and growth of the workforce, including initiatives to increase the number of cancer nurse specialists to meet current and future demand.


10 Year Cancer Plan - Call for Evidence

In February 2022 the Government announced that it would be producing a new 10-year plan for cancer services. To help build this it launched a six-week Call for Evidence. In our response, we highlighted the need to ensure that services deliver world-leading cancer care that is personalised and equitable. This will require increased levels of funding to improve care pathways and increase the size and skill base of the workforce. Our submission includes 30 recommendations, informed by people living with cancer, and cancer professionals.

Read our submission

NHS Long-Term Plan

In Spring 2018, in response to the NHS turning 70 and growing concerns that key health services are overwhelmed by rising demand, the Government pledged for a new ten-year long-term plan and an extra £20 billion funding for the NHS over the next five years.

Macmillan's priorities for the NHS long-term plan

The NHS long-term plan is an opportunity to make sure everyone living with cancer today and in the future gets the care they need.

As part of NHS England’s consultation process, Macmillan provided a detailed list of actions we believe must be taken to ensure the full range of needs of people living with cancer are met by the future long-term plan.

The priorities outlined in our submission include:

  1. Personalised care for all, together with improvements in patient experience
  2. Systematic action to tackle inequalities
  3. A growing, skilled and agile workforce that has the resource to deliver increasingly complex treatment and care
  4. Continued improvements in diagnosis and treatment
  5. Widening access to digital and technology.

Read our detailed Priorities for the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Cancer strategy in England

You can read a detailed overview of the cancer strategy in England here.

Macmillan was part of an Independent Taskforce created to improve survival rates and experiences of people affected by cancer. The Taskforce has developed a new report called Achieving world-class cancer outcomes - A strategy for England 2015-2020. This sets out a proposed new five-year Cancer Strategy for England.

Macmillan is now working to ensure that the strategy is fully funded and implemented to best support people affected by cancer, particularly during and after treatment.

Key reports:



After many years of influencing and campaigning, Macmillan in Scotland were pleased when the Scottish government's new cancer stategy 'Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action' was published in March 2016.

Macmillan continue to work with fellows charities, the NHS and local authorities to ensure the plan is implemented in full and within the 2016-2021 Scottish Parliament session. 

In July 2018, Macmillan welcomed the UK Government's announcement that NHS England will receive increased funding and a new long-term plan.

Macmillan Scotland’s key focus is to ensure that care for patients living with and beyond cancer is recognised as a vital part of the cancer journey; in the same way that diagnosis and surgery currently is. To ensure this, we have produced a set of principles that Macmillan would like to see reflected in a future long-term plan for the NHS in Scotland.

Key reports:


Wales / Cymru

We want to see an ambitious cancer plan which places Wales among the best in Europe for cancer outcomes and patient experience.

We believe that future strategies must address how to progress clinical outcomes, and equally improve people’s experience of cancer care across Wales.

Strategaethau a Chynlluniau Cenedlaethol Canser

Rydym eisiau gweld cynllun canser uchelgeisiol sydd yn rhoi Cymru gyda’r gorau yn Ewrop am ganlyniadau canser a phrofiad cleifion.

Rydym o’r farn bod yn rhaid i strategaethau yn y dyfodol fynd i’r afael â’r ffordd o ddatblygu canlyniadau clinigol, ac yn yr un modd, gwella profiad pobl o ofal canser ledled Cymru.


Northern Ireland

We have been supporting calls for a cancer strategy for Northern Ireland. 

In the meantime, we hope the revised Cancer Services Framework will lead to improved care and support. The framework is due for publication in 2016 and our Assembly election calls asked all parties to commit to its full implementation.