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TCST Newsletter

Winter 2023
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Welcome from Sue Maughn

Head of Cancer, Programme Director,
Transforming Cancer Services Team

Welcome to our Winter newsletter - highlighting the range of projects and programmes that the Transforming Cancer Services Team is currently working on in partnership with stakeholders to improve outcomes from cancer for Londoners and support the delivery of cancer services across London.

Key updates this time include: the publication of updated Urgent Suspected Cancer referral forms for GPs; Quality of Life survey campaign launch; release of the latest quarterly cancer data packs; and the development of our educational and training programme with the launch of the new Cancer Community of Practice.

We'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new organisational name: Transformation Partners in Health and Care. You can read more about this below.

Branding Update

TCST becomes part of Transformation Partners in Health and Care
At the end of 2022, Healthy London Partnership (of which Transforming Cancer Services was a part of) and Healthcare Consulting came together as a single team, called ‘Transformation Partners in Health and Care’ (TPHC).

The new name and identity reflect the core values that underpin the team’s partnerships and consultancy services. The way we work isn’t changing but together we are stronger, with our unique blend of expertise, knowledge and experience.

All communications from the Transforming Cancer Services team will now reflect the new TPHC branding and logo, which you can see at the top of this newsletter.

Early Diagnosis news

Revised Urgent Suspected Cancer referral forms launched
At the end of January, Transforming Cancer Services launched an updated series of Urgent Suspected Cancer (USC) referral forms to support GPs when consulting with patients who may be presenting with symptoms of suspected cancer.

The updated forms have been uploaded onto the EMIS, SystmOne and Vision systems, and are also available to download in MS Word format from the TCST website.

GPs should ensure that only the updated forms are now used for USC referrals.

To further support GPs in their conversations with patients, we've also developed a series of patient information leaflets in a wide range of community languages. The leaflets provide advice and guidance to patients on what to expect from the cancer pathway should they need to be referred for onward investigations. The leaflets can also be downloaded from our website.

If you have any questions about the USC forms, please email the team.

Personalised Care news

Quality of Life (QoL) and cancer: patient survey campaign
The Cancer Quality of Life survey has been designed to empower patients, giving them an opportunity to share their feelings and highlight how cancer has affected them and their families. The information collected within the survey will also help the NHS to better understand the longer-term effects that cancer may have on people and improve the way we support people to live as long and as well as possible.

Transforming Cancer Services is working alongside Cancer Alliances and other partners across London to develop a campaign to increase survey response rates across the city, which currently average around 35-36% of patients contacted. A toolkit will be available shortly with revised imagery and messaging that can be used across a wide range of communication platforms, both online and offline.

Who cares about personalised cancer care in London?
The Transforming Cancer Services team recently teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Support to host a pan-London workshop ‘Who Cares About Personalised Cancer Care in London’.

The full-day session brought together people affected by cancer, carers, clinicians, specialist cancer nurses, NHS commissioners and other key decision makers. It was an incredibly inspiring and thought-provoking day, filled with powerful stories from people affected by cancer, which one attendee said, ‘underlines the place and value of personalised care’.

There were also great insights from healthcare professionals on the frontline and spirited discussions about the future of cancer care in London.

Read the reflections from Dr Philippa Hyman from TCST and Emma Tingley of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Cancer Data news

New quarterly cancer metrics pack launched
Transforming Cancer Services has developed a comprehensive cancer metrics pack to support commissioners in making decisions about the entire cancer pathway.
The data included within the pack can be used to measure diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients diagnosed with cancer in London. Additional data, such as one-year survival rates, cancer staging, diagnostic waiting times and the patient experience of cancer services in London is also included.

The metrics pack, which is published on a quarterly basis, includes data that is not within the public domain and is therefore only available to NHS staff in confidence.

For any queries or to be added to the distribution list contact

Diagnostics Optimisation news

Improving GP direct access to diagnostics
In response to the recent national drive to improve detection of cancer by expanding GP direct access to diagnostics, Transforming Cancer Services has been working with London clinical and ICS leaders on a project to develop a shared understanding of the issues preventing uptake of direct access imaging by GPs across the city.

The national directive is focused on patients who have concerning symptoms but don’t warrant an urgent cancer referral. Consequently, we are focusing on ensuring that all GPs have effective, timely access to direct access CT and ultrasound scans in line with NICE guidelines.

Exploring the psychological impact of the cancer diagnostic pathway
Transforming Cancer Services is delighted to be presenting at the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS) Conference in March.

Our presentation will focus on the work we completed in 2022 on behalf of the North Central London (NCL) Integrated Care Board and in collaboration with the NCL Cancer Alliance addressing the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis on patient wellbeing.

Developing the sarcoma diagnostic pathway
Transforming Cancer Services has been supporting the London and South East Sarcoma Network’s (LSESN) clinical advisory group and London Region Specialised Commissioning team on the soft tissue sarcoma diagnostic pathway.

In November, we held a successful workshop with key stakeholders across London, the East and South East of England, which identified three key challenges:

  • Addressing issues with acute service delivery at the Royal Marsden Hospital and the need for mutual aid within the network.
  • Ensuring the diagnostic pathway fits the needs of the patients, reducing variation in access, removing backlogs, improving sustainability and delivering best practice.
  • Clarifying some aspects of the national service specification regarding diagnostics and a timed pathway.

Cancer Waits news

New Cancer Waits Guidance training package launched across London
With cancer waiting times remaining a priority for the NHS, Transforming Cancer Services has collaborated with Cancer Alliances in London to design a training package supporting accessible standardisation of cancer waits training across the region.

In January, two training sessions covering Cancer Waits and Best Practice Timed Pathways were delivered to over 140 colleagues from across London. Feedback received so far has been extremely positive.

The next Cancer Waits and Best Practice Timed Pathway training take place on 19 April and 27 April respectively.

For further information and to register your interest, please contact, or

Education and Training news

National Informal discussion group for primary care - Personalised Care and Cancer
Transforming Cancer Services is hosting a new discussion group to bring together primary care clinicians, commissioners, cancer personalised care leads and third sector colleagues. The focus of the group will be to discuss how primary care multi professional teams can provide personalised care for people living with and beyond cancer and improve the patient experience.

The group will meet on a quarterly basis, and anyone with an interest in this area is welcome to join.

The next event will be held virtually on the 28 March from 13:00-14.00

Launch of the London Cancer Community of Practice for primary care 2023
The Cancer Community of Practice (CoP) has been developed through a pan-London cancer education programme for primary care and community nurses in 2022/23; the Cancer in the Community programme. This programme was delivered by Central London Community Health Learning Academy (CLCH) in partnership with Transforming Cancer Services and Health Education England.

Partner news

North Central London Cancer Alliance launches Your Cancer Pathway support guide
North Central London Cancer Alliance has recently launched a new support guide: Your Cancer Pathway.

Co-designed with patients, carers and healthcare professionals, with support from Healthwatch Barnet and advocacy from Macmillan Cancer Support, the guide is intended for use by anyone affected by cancer and healthcare professionals in England.

The guide aims to provide information and signposting to emotional and practical support at the right time for patients during and after having tests or treatment for cancer.  It will also help people to know where to get relevant information and what questions to ask healthcare professionals, and to have the information and confidence to make decisions about their treatment and care.

Awareness Events

National No Smoking Day: 8 March
London has large disparities in smoking rates, ranging between some of the highest and lowest in the country. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Annual Population Survey, Enfield and the City of London recorded 18.5% and 18.3% of their respective populations aged over 18 years as smokers in 2021. Conversely, Camden was the London borough with the lowest proportion of smokers at 6.6%, with Brent and Richmond-upon-Thames following at 8.2%.

Reducing tobacco usage is one of the 10 priorities of the health and care vision for London, and the NHS is committed to supporting people to kick the habit. The NHS Better Health website has a wide range of information and resources to support people wanting to give up smoking.

NHS England Bowel Cancer Screening Campaign: running until 31 March
NHS England is also running a national bowel cancer screening campaign from mid-February through to the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month on 1 April.

Activities will be based on the pilot campaign that recently ran across the London region and will include TV advertising, online videos and social media activity.

The purpose of the campaign is to increase participation in bowel cancer screening to support one of the key ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan – to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 or 2 from 50% to 75% by 2028.

An evaluation of the campaign will be available following completion.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month: April
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, with nearly 43,000 people being diagnosed with the disease every year.

Transforming Cancer Services will be improving awareness of bowel cancer throughout the month through our Twitter channel, sharing the resources and support available for healthcare professionals, such as new patient information leaflets to help guide conversations with patients about the cancer pathway and resources available to support personalised cancer care for patients living with and after cancer, such as psychosocial support, cancer rehabilitation services and education and training.

Please share our social media posts with your networks throughout the month #thisisbowelcancer

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