Legal & General and Cancer Research UK - Driving improvement in cancer prevention and diagnosis

Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Sir Harpal S. Kumar, Chief Executive Officer at Cancer Research UK, gained a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Manchester and the University of Newcastle. He was knighted in the 2016 New Years Honours List for services to cancer research.

Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. In the 1970s less than a quarter of people with cancer survived, but over the last 40 years survival has doubled – today 2 in 4 will survive. Our ambition is to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 people surviving their disease by 2034.

To help achieve this ambition Cancer Research UK are working directly with the NHS to drive faster improvement in cancer prevention and diagnosis. Through initiatives like the Facilitator Programme we can have tangible impact on people’s lives by helping the health system provide better cancer care. Legal & General’s investment in the programme supports increased uptake of cancer screening programmes, improved recognition of symptoms and better use by GPs of referral guidelines.

Bernie Hickman – Chief Executive Officer of Legal & General Insurance said: “It’s fantastic for Legal & General to be in partnership with Cancer Research UK on the early detection programme. Anything that can be done to identify cancer earlier has to be a good thing. People living with cancer will get the appropriate treatment sooner and there will be a positive impact on survival rates.”

How does the Facilitator Programme work?

The Programme provides locally-tailored support that is to change the way health professionals and organisations prevent and diagnose cancer. The team covers England, North Wales and the urban Health Boards in Scotland, with further expansion into Wales and Northern Ireland planned for later this year. We now have more than 70 Facilitators working directly with health professionals to provide support in many ways, including:

  • Supporting practices to do in-depth reviews of their care and better understand their cancer data, compared with neighbouring practices
  • Providing training and tools on key topics, such as screening programmes and referral guidelines
  • Influencing strategic planning of health services and supporting local organisations to create action plans together

The impact of the programme

GPs, dentists and pharmacists have a myriad of health conditions and diseases that they need to address with patients in their local communities.  With more than 200 different types of cancer and with medical practice changing rapidly, it can be hard for these professionals to keep abreast of the latest techniques and guidance.  The Facilitators interact with more than 2,000 NHS professionals and organisations each month, including over 900 GP practices, 200 dentists and community pharmacists and 400 commissioners and planners of care.

Recent successes include:

  • In South East England the Facilitator Programme supported a Clinical Commissioning Group, Fire and Rescue and a local smoking cessation provider to set up a new stop smoking clinic, which has significantly increased the quit rate in the area
  • In South London, facilitators helped a GP practice change the way they code bowel screening results, allowing quicker follow up with people who have not responded to screening requests
  • In Greater Manchester the programme has worked with Trafford Public Health team to influence the creation of their cancer strategy for 2016 - 2020
  • In West Scotland the facilitators have worked in partnership with NHS Education Scotland to hold two workshops for over 170 dentists on preventing and identifying oral cancer

''We have been working with the Facilitator to ensure that awareness and early diagnosis is included as a priority in our strategic plans. I don’t think we would have been as effective in doing that without the support of the Facilitator. We’ve also adopted some of the Facilitator's objectives in our strategic plans'' – Clinical Commissioning Group Representative.

Our support is free of charge. If you are a healthcare professional wanting to talk to us about how we can help you improve cancer outcomes in your area then please get in touch here