The aim of the high quality, modern services workstream is to ensure that all patients have access to the highest quality of services and treatment, irrespective of where they live or where they receive their care.
Building on the strong clinical collaboration and leadership that exists in Cheshire and Merseyside, the Cancer Alliance is working with partners to ensure that patients have access to treatment pathways which make the best use of scarce resources and specialist expertise to ensure the very best experience and outcomes for our population.
The national cancer strategy - Achieving World Class Outcomes, a Strategy for England, 2015 - 2020 sets out a number of recommendations for the development of cancer treatment services which are of a consistently high quality across the country. The Cancer Alliance delivery plan describes a number of priorities for action in response to these ambitions:
- Ensure equitable access to modern radiotherapy services
- Improve access to clinical trials
- Continue to increase proportion of patients with access to chemotherapy in community settings where clinically appropriate
- Ensure access to high quality molecular testing with genetic testing embedded in treatment pathways
- Deliver improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of multi-disciplinary team discussions
A Focus on MDTs
The National Taskforce report recognised the importance of Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) in improving the quality of care and resulting outcomes and in particular, reducing variation in access to treatment. It also highlighted that MDTs are under increased demand with often insufficient support and not operating as effectively as they might and made a number of key recommendations.
Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings provide an opportunity for clinicians with expertise in all areas of cancer diagnosis and treatment to come together and discuss the best options for each patient’s journey.
The Cancer Alliance has established an MDT project incorporating strong clinical leadership and engagement aimed at improving the way teams work by:
- Developing approaches to MDT efficiency such as protocol use, triage, preparation and processes
- Developing approaches to support effective team working including leadership, practice and attendance requirements
- Improving the support available to MDTs including the crucial role of MDT Co-ordinators
We will also be exploring the opportunities to rationalise the number and type of MDTs across the Alliance footprint.
Work completed so far includes:
- A successful launch event in July 2018
- A Steering Group with regional representation established and meeting bi-monthly
- Procurement of training for MDT Chairs and Leads across Cheshire and Merseyside
- MDT members’ survey undertaken to aid the development of an audit baseline tool and inform next steps
- Participation in the pilot work undertaken by NHS England and contribution to development of national policy
- Design and delivery of tailored training and support for MDT Coordinators
- Successful pilot site trials in multiple tumour groups supported by the Cancer Alliance
- Culminating in a system wide MDT Summit event where learning was shared and teams worked through plans