The Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer programme has now reached its halfway point.

There is a lot to celebrate - and still some exciting progress to come.

The five year programme is specifically focusing on three areas – breast, colorectal and prostate – working with local NHS, local authority, voluntary and community organisations, as well as people affected by cancer at every stage, to introduce new integrated patient pathways for people living with and after a diagnosis of cancer.

The programme is delivering significant changes to the way cancer services are delivered and experienced by patients.

The changes require the development and implementation of three interdependent elements; Risk Stratification, the Recovery Package and supported self-management. In reality, this means making sure that every patient is offered a meaningful, person centred conversation about their needs and linking people to support in their own communities.

The 2015/16 baseline for the three progress tumour sites estimates there are approximately 5,800 people diagnosed with a Breast, Colorectal or Prostate cancer across the programme footprint each year. Macmillan Cancer Support estimates the number of people living with cancer in the programme area will increase from 74,000 in 2015 to 120,000 by 2030.

Progress to date

The programme, which started in April 2016, is seeing sustained engagement and progress across the eight CCGs localities and six acute trusts, through our seven locality steering groups.

And we already know we are having an impact.

Over 1,300 additional people affected by cancer have accessed support in just three out of the eight localities.

In some tumour sites, the number of diagnosed patients accessing support has risen from 31 per cent to 98 per cent and from 24 per cent to 75 per cent across some localities.

This has only been possible due to the sustained effort, energy and support of over 200 professionals and people affected by cancer across the eight localities.

We are also meeting national requirements for NHS England. In the latest NHSE LWABC temperature check, all localities are already offering or developing each elements of the Recovery Package and Risk Stratification.

How people affected by cancer been involved so far

The Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer programme includes commissioners, providers and specialist providers from across the NHS, local authority, community and voluntary sectors, as well as high levels of patient, carer and public engagement.

People affected by cancer are heavily involved across the programme including the “co-design” of local services at place, recruitment of all new programme funded posts and by sitting on a programme advisory board – equal to the programme board – who help make decisions.

What’s next?

Through the Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer programme, we are committed to making sure everybody receives the personalised care and support they need, when they need it, to help them to live well beyond a diagnosis of cancer.

As well as the continuation of locality and programme level projects with individual timelines, key upcoming milestones include Risk Stratification formally commissioned by CCGs in acute contracts from April 2019 onwards and alignment with programme evaluation team reporting timeframes in May 2019, January 2020 and September 2020.

Since the launch of the programme, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people accessing support in a way and place that works for them - and we’re proud to be making a difference.

As the programme matures, the focus up to the end of June 2021 will shift to concentrating more on supporting implementation, assessing impact and evaluation.

We look forward to sharing further results going forward.

Richard Metcalfe, Macmillan Programme Lead, Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer programme.