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Cancer rehabilitation at Guy's and St Thomas'

Published: 12 October 2021

This initiative took a look at access to cancer rehabilitation for patients across South East London with a particular focus on services delivered by non-cancer specialist allied health professionals. Nipa Patel who led the initiative shares the results.

Nipa Patel Physiotherapist, Guy's and St Thomas'

The initiative

This initiative was funded by Health Education England and the South East Cancer Alliance

It aimed to:

  • gain a deeper understanding of the cancer rehabilitation services for patients across South East London
  • identify gaps in service provision and prevent a 'postcode lottery'
  • find out how to enable clinicians to be better equipped to help patients
  • understand any challenges and barriers in staff training
  • find out what is difficult for cancer patients and how this can be improved.

What we did

  • Engaged both specialist and non-specialist AHP’s from all providers through questionnaires and interviews and mapped availability of rehabilitation services for people with cancer.
  • Promoted cancer rehabilitation among non-cancer specialist clinicians.
  • Engaged people living with cancer to understand their experiences and understanding of rehabilitation.
  • Identified gaps in knowledge and gained insight into the types of training AHP’s desired.
  • Built relationships between cancer and rehabilitation services at the acute Trusts and supported business planning.
  • Highlighted the lack of opportunities to communicate with peers about rehabilitation planning.
  • Identified clear gaps in service provision in secondary care.

Impact and outcomes

  • Heightened understanding of the value of rehabilitation at all stages of the cancer pathway.
  • Increased awareness among clinicians of who to refer patients onto for specific services.
  • Built communication channels between cancer specialist and non-specialist services as well as oncology and therapies directorates.
  • Provided career development opportunities for Allied Health Professionals to take on leadership roles.

Future aims

  • To build a directory of rehabilitation services across South East London.
  • More patients being offered rehabilitation because clinicians have improved cancer knowledge.
  • To continue to build a learning and sharing network for AHP in the implementation phase of this project.

Find out more

You can contact the team by emailing Nipa Patel at: or Samantha Tordesillas, SELCA Programme Manager for Personalised Care at:


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