The Cancer Taskforce Report ‘Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for the NHS 2015 – 2020‘ was published in July 2015. The taskforce strategy outlined 96 recommendations, one of which was the establishment of Cancer Alliances. Cancer Alliances will put clinical leaders across primary, secondary and tertiary care in the driving seat for improving quality and outcomes across cancer pathways based on shared data. They will be the vehicle that enables systems to meet the 2020 ambitions of the Cancer Taskforce.
A core set of national principles will underpin each Cancer Alliance, and they will deliver a work programme agreed by the National Cancer Transformation Board, to an agreed timescale and plan.
Cancer Alliances will be formed from all relevant stakeholders within a defined geography, such as commissioners and providers from across the cancer pathway (from prevention through to end of life care). Stakeholders will collaboratively assess gaps in service provision and individual members will be responsible for addressing those gaps in their respective organisations. Cancer Alliances will take collective responsibility for the overall outcomes across patient pathways.
Alliances will not be an employing organisation, and will function more along the lines of a programme structure. Alliances will be responsible for the local cancer agenda, including functions currently carried out by Clinical Networks, as well as planning for the local delivery of taskforce recommendations.
A West Midlands footprint is based on natural communities, existing working relationships and patient flows across the West Midlands. It will ensure an integrated approach to cross boundary and specialised care. The Cancer Alliance will also benefit from established infrastructure and maximise the use of existing resources to serve national, and regional priorities. It is coterminous with the four Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) within NHS England West Midlands geography and two STPs within the North Midlands NHS England geography.
The Cancer Alliance will provide leadership to improve cancer patient’s outcomes both in terms of survival and experience of care. This extends from prevention strategies, through screening and early diagnosis, delivery of evidence based treatment, living with and beyond cancer, palliative and supportive care to end of life care.
The Cancer Alliance will be seen as the vehicle for sharing best practice and innovation, identifying and addressing variation, integrating care pathways, monitoring performance and supporting providers to provide high quality, cost effective care.
The Cancer Alliance Board will provide leadership to ensure successful delivery of the Alliance’s programme of work, including that local plans are aligned and support STPs and transformation across the West Midlands. It will act as the decision-making body in relation to the planning and delivery of the Cancer Taskforce strategy locally.