Long Term Plan Implementation

The NHS Long Term Plan was published in January 2019. It sets out ambitions and commitments to improve cancer outcomes and services in England over the next ten years.

The key ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan for Cancer are:

  • by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half now to three-quarters of cancer patients; and
  • from 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive their cancer for at least five years after diagnosis.

The NHS Cancer Programme is responsible for delivering on the plan’s ambitions. The plan builds on the work set out in the Independent Cancer Taskforce strategy published in 2015, and the extensive transformation work completed and underway around the country to deliver those ambitions. You can read more about the progress we’ve made in our one year and two year progress reports.

Visit the NHS Long Term Plan website to see early examples of some of the key projects we will be taking forward across the country to achieve these ambitions such as:


It is important to have the right governance structures in place to deliver the Long Term Plan for cancer.

The governance structure below is designed to:

  • increase the transparency of our work by making sure the cancer family is kept up to date on delivery and have the opportunity to hold us to account;
  • increase involvement by getting the views of experts on the overall delivery of the plan; and,
  • build on the positive engagement from across the cancer family in developing the Long term Plan, by increasing the involvement of colleagues from across the sector in the implementation of specific projects.

NHS Cancer Programme governance structures to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. The main board for the programme is the National Cancer Board which reports to the NHS England and NHS Improvement Board. The NHS England and NHS Improvement Board and the National Cancer Board both receive input from the NHS Assembly. Reporting into the National Cancer Board is the Cancer Delivery Group and beneath that group are regional cancer boards. Reporting into the regional boards are the Cancer Programme Board and Task and Finish Groups. Task and Finish Groups work on specific projects for a set period so we can make the most of the expert advice of our stakeholders. There are also a number of national groups and forums that input into the work of the NHS Cancer Programme. The rest of the web page sets out the work of the Task and Finish Groups, as well as the national forums and groups, in more detail.

The main board overseeing the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan for cancer is the National Cancer Board. The members of the Board are drawn from across the cancer family:

  • Liz Bishop, Chief Executive, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre
  • Ben Day, Strategic Finance Director, NHS England and Improvement
  • David Fitzgerald, Cancer Programme Director, NHS England and Improvement
  • Ceinwen Giles, Chair, NHS Cancer Programme Patient Forum
  • Jane Lyons, Chief Executive, Cancer 52
  • Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK
  • Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Marsden (Chair)
  • Jem Rashbass, National Director for Disease Registration and Cancer Analysis, Public Health England
  • Laura Roberts, Director (North), Health Education England
  • Roger Spencer, Chief Executive, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Jason Yiannikkou, Deputy Director Acute Care and Provider Policy, Department of Health Social Care
  • National Clinical Director for Cancer (not yet appointed)
  • Regional Director, NHS England and Improvement

Task and Finish Groups

Task and Finish Groups work on specific projects for a set period so we can make the most of the expert advice of our stakeholders. We will add in more Task and Finish groups as we take on new projects.

The two Task and Finish Groups set up so far are:

  • Rapid Diagnostic Centres – the roll out of centres that upgrade and bring together the latest diagnostic equipment and expertise, building on ten models piloted with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan.
  • Early detection – rolling out lung MOTs in some of the areas with the highest mortality rates for lung cancer, taking forward recommendations from Sir Mike Richards screening review and extending the use of FIT screening for bowel cancer.

National Forums and Groups

To provide further expert advice and challenge, we have set up a number of national fora. The chair of each forum is also a member of the National Cancer Board.

Patient and Public Voice Forum: For patient representatives from Cancer Alliances to discuss and give advice on key projects. It will also provide opportunities for patients on the forum to get more involved in policy development and project delivery – for example, through task and finish groups. The chair is Ceinwen Giles.

Cancer Charity Forum: For cancer charities to offer advice on key projects. The forum will also keep cancer charities up to date  on policy development and on opportunities to get more involved in project delivery. The forum is chaired by Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Cancer Alliance Leadership Forum: For chairs, clinical leads and executive leads of Cancer Alliances to discuss key projects and share best practice. The Chair is National Cancer Director Cally Palmer.

There are also three other national groups providing input into the plan:

The Cancer Data and Analytics Advisory Group – chaired by the National Director for Disease Registration and Cancer Analysis, Public Health England, this group brings together stakeholders, arms length bodies and Cancer Alliances to advise on strategic analytical issues such as how best to measure progress in delivering the Long Term Plan and evaluate novel interventions to learn what works to share evidence and best practice

The Clinical Advisory Group – chaired by the National Clinical Director for cancer, this group will provide clinical advice on policy and implementation of the Long Term Plan. Membership of the group will be confirmed following the appointment of a new National Clinical Director.

Quarterly meetings with Royal Colleges – the NHS Cancer Programme will seek views and advice from Medical Royal Colleges as part of an ongoing engagement programme led by NHS England’s Medical Directorate.