Whatever It Takes Award

This new award category recognises those extraordinary efforts, where individuals and teams have had to adapt, innovate, collaborate, support wellbeing initiatives, show great resilience despite distressing situations and lead with compassion.

Dr Jane Winter

Macmillan Lead for Nursing & AHPs - Wessex Cancer Alliance


Whatever It Takes 2023 Dr Jane Winter
Image: Whatever It Takes 2023 Dr Jane Winter

As the first full-time lead for nursing and AHPs in Cancer Alliances across England, Jane Winter has been a trailblazer in developing system-level cancer nursing leadership to ensure people with cancer and their families receive the best experience of care. Jane is respected for her clinical and academic expertise and uses her influence to champion nursing and AHP roles and pioneer new ways of working.

As a visible figurehead at a national, system and organisational level, Jane is an inspirational and nurturing leader who strives to make sure every member of the cancer workforce feels seen, heard and supported.

"We must never lose sight of delivering excellence for the people on the receiving end of care,’ says Jane. ‘Individual experience is unique, and we need to be responsive to those needs and remember that in the current and future delivery of services, the need for individuals and their families to feel cared for remains at the heart of what we do."

Kate Parker

Macmillan Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression Service Lead - Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

Whatever It Takes 2023 Kate Parker
Image: Whatever It Takes 2023 Kate Parker

Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) occurs as a result of malignancy and can result in devastating symptoms such as paralysis, sensory loss and incontinence. Knowing that earlier management is associated with better outcomes, Kate Parker from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre worked tirelessly to develop a dedicated regional service for this vulnerable group of patients.

Kate set up the Macmillan MSCC Service in 2017 and built a team who deliver a person-centred pathway that has transformed patient care across Cheshire and Merseyside. Thanks to Kate’s passion and drive, referral rates have increased, and survival rates have significantly improved. She’s now sharing her learnings to help establish similar services across the UK.

"The patient experience was so poor, I knew that we had to be able to do things differently," explains Kate. "Educating and building relationships with other teams has been key in enabling us to smooth the pathway, reach people earlier and make a positive impact."

Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Team

Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis

Whatever It Takes 2023 Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Team
Image: Whatever It Takes 2023 Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Team


The Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Team at Self Help UK embodies the idea of person-centred support by offering tailored practical and emotional support to people affected by cancer in Nottinghamshire.

The non-clinical team conduct HNAs to find out what matters most to their clients and then create support plans to ensure their needs are being met. The service’s dedicated volunteers play a key role in delivering this. They’ve accompanied people with anxiety to critical appointments, they've found support networks to look after pets so clients could have surgery, and they’ve even reunited long-lost family members. The team has also set up a craft group, a bereavement support group and walking groups and to provide invaluable peer support. 

"This service is like plasticine because we mould it to the needs of the individual," explains Team Leader Kerry Brealey. "We’ve shown what you can achieve when you put the whole person at the centre of their care, and you walk alongside them."

NHS Western Isles Macmillan Team

NHS Western Isles

Whatever It Takes 2023 NHS Western Isles Macmillan Team
Image: Whatever It Takes 2023 NHS Western Isles Macmillan Team


Since the pandemic, the healthcare landscape has significantly changed in remote, rural island communities. The Western Isles in Scotland experienced a reduction in visiting clinicians and faced challenges in recruiting medical staff on the islands, meaning people with cancer could struggle to receive the support they needed.  

To meet the changing needs of their population, the NHS Western Isles Macmillan Team stepped up to develop their service and extend their roles. The team of nurses enhanced their professional expertise in advanced practice including clinical examination and history taking to add to their qualifications as prescribers. They also introduced a seven-day service to ensure advice and support is always available to patients and professionals. The fully integrated team now offers a single point of contact for cancer patients on the islands and supports the coordination of care.  

"We’re very proud of what we’ve developed," says Mairi Smith, the team lead for Lewis and Harris.


Watch our video about the finalists for the Whatever It Takes Award 2023.


Find out about our Whatever It Takes Award 2023 finalists.