Macmillan Quality Environment Mark

The MQEM award recognises and celebrates environments that meet the standards required by people living with cancer. Find out how it works and how to apply.

What is the MQEM award?

The MQEM award champions cancer environments that go above and beyond to create welcoming and friendly spaces for patients. MQEM is the first award of its kind in the UK and has been designed in collaboration with people living with cancer.

We also collaborated with stakeholders, including the Department of Health, to ensure the MQEM award criteria is evidence-based and recognised by regulatory bodies including the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England.

Whether you work in a hospital, hospice or Information and Support Centre, we'll help you create a more welcoming space for people living with cancer.

Who can apply for the award?

The award is open to NHS and non-NHS providers including independent private healthcare sector and charities.

To be eligible, any organisation must be able to demonstrate that 80% of the services or the support being given are aimed at people affected by cancer.

The award is externally assessed by an independent quality assurance agency and renewed every three years thereafter.

What does MQEM assess?

MQEM assesses four main areas of a cancer service or environment:

  • Design and use of space

    Including clear wayfinding for visitors, welcoming and ascetically pleasing reception and waiting areas, and access to private consultation rooms.

  • User’s journey

    For example, the cost and availability of parking, how easy it is to get to the facility on public transport, internal facility signposting and flexibility in making appointments.

  • Service experience

    This includes access to cancer-specific information and access to health professionals, choice and range of food available, cleanliness and tidiness of facility.

  • User’s voice

    Tthe level at which users are involved in the development of services, and how important people’s views are taken into account.

The assessment includes an on-site visit by a professional assessor and a volunteer assessor who has been affected by cancer. The visit can last most of the day depending on the size of the facility being assessed. A detailed report is written and shared with the organisation after the assessment with recommendations for improvements.

Successfully assessed organisations are awarded a plaque to display to the public. Organisations that do not meet the assessment criteria are offered expertise and guidance to help them improve before your environment is reassessed.

What is a successful environment?

A successful MQEM environment is:

  • welcoming and accessible to all
  • respectful of people's privacy and dignity
  • supportive of the users' comfort and well-being
  • gives choice and control to people using your service
  • listens to the voice of the user.

Services that reach the MQEM standard are awarded it for three years. We offer ongoing advice and support during this time to make sure the physical environment of the service continues to improve for the people who use it.

How can my service apply?

There is a two-step process for applying for the MQEM standard.

  1. Complete the MQEM self-assessment tool
    This will help you to understand how well your service meets the MQEM standard. If a Macmillan Partnership Quality Lead (PQL) has not already given you this tool, you can request a copy by emailing
  2. Apply for external assessment
    You can do this if your self-assessment score is 4 or above (pass level). 

Apply for the MQEM award

Award-winning environments

You can find out which environments hold the MQEM award by downloading the spreadsheet below.

Download the full winners list

How to get help with your application

If you have any questions about MQEM, or would like help with your application, please contact us by email at