Helping to provide better care for cancer patients

A carer with the person they're looking after.

What did we do?

To help provide better care for cancer patients, we worked with the Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP – a partnership led by Macmillan Cancer Care and the NHS Manchester North, Central and South Clinical Commissioning Groups, and working with organisations across primary, community, acute and end-of-life care) to identify the workforce training needs for the whole of Greater Manchester. The results of this work were used to develop a training standard that now forms the basis for the commissioning of training, and a range of training is now being designed and delivered through MCIP.

How did we do it?

Cancer, palliative and end-of-life care are national priorities. Cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality with incidence continuing to rise in the UK. More than 331,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in the UK in 2011 equating to approximately 524 cases per 100,000 population. By 2030, it is predicted that the number of cancer cases in men will rise by more than 50% to over 236,000, whereas cancer cases among women are forecast to increase by 37%.

MCIP partnership logo squareCancer care is provided by a range of clinical and non-clinical staff at all levels working across different service environments as members of multi-professional teams. Patient experience surveys reveal that there is a wide variation in the levels and standards of support received in terms of early recognition of signs of cancer, early referral and subsequent support offered during and post-diagnosis. Appropriate reviews in primary and community care are needed to meet the rehabilitation and survivorship agendas, as well as improvements in palliative and end-of-life care to support patients and their carers, and give people approaching the end-of-life choice about where they would like to be cared for and to die.

To address this problem, in April 2014 we were commissioned by MCIP to design and conduct a cancer-specific learning and development needs scoping project for the entire workforce caring for patients affected by cancer (PABC) across Manchester.

Our investigation aimed to:

  •         Increase understanding of the current workforce in primary, community and palliative care services across Manchester who contribute to the care of people affected by cancer by mapping the range of organisations/services, workforce groups and staff roles involved
  •         Understand the level of awareness, knowledge and skills about cancer/cancer care, the preparation to deliver cancer care (including the factors which form a ‘good’ patient experience), and the learning and development needs of the workforce
  •         Analyse the cancer-specific learning opportunities across Manchester, regionally and nationally, and make recommendations to meet the educational needs of the workforce.

Over a 6 month period we used various methods of data collection and analysis, including telephone interviews, a PABC focus group, a cancer specific learning needs questionnaire, a review of the existing evidence to identify a minimum standard of cancer care knowledge, and a gap analysis.

Key outputs and impacts:

  •         A questionnaire to identify the organisational and workforce cancer specific educational needs. This has far reaching potential transferability and could be amended for use within different health economies
  •         A gap analysis to identify potential areas for the implementation of new learning and development within the workforce in line with national recommendations
  •         Identified potential resources for learning and development of cancer care from external organisations within Greater Manchester
  •         A bespoke five-year ‘cancer-specific learning and development minimum standard’ was developed and proposed to the MCIP Board, as part of a full report.
Full report

View the full report.

Summary report

View the summary report.

What next?

As a result of our recommendations, a range of bespoke primary and community based cancer-specific education programmes were developed and commissioned for delivery during 2015. MCIP is currently working with commissioners and local organisation/service managers to agree the longer term two to five year role out of the training programme.