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Giving cancer rehabilitation the profile it deserves and needs

29th March 2019

London’s Transforming Cancer Services Team’s (TCST) first ever competition for cancer rehabilitation services in the London and West Essex region received 22 very strong entries. The competition’s categories focused on the provision of personalised cancer care. In our latest blog, Sophie Lansdowne, project manager for personalised care for cancer, talks about what inspired the competition and outlines the winning entries.

Since 2016, our team has been working closely with many of the fantastic cancer rehabilitation services across London and West Essex. Not only has this been instrumental in helping us shape the focus of our work, ensuring we are supporting services based on what they need, but such close collaborative work has also given us such a valuable insight into the brilliant work that these services are doing every day. This is especially true in terms of how they’re delivering personalised care for cancer patients.

One of the things we hear most from those we work with is that cancer rehabilitation doesn’t get the attention and the profile it deserves and needs. Whilst this a key tenet in all of our work, we wanted to find a way to showcase the brilliant services working so hard to deliver the best care possible for their cancer patients and also take to the time to really celebrate them. This is something that can be a challenge to make time for in the busy and changing health and care landscape.

This is what inspired us to launch our first ever TCST competition for cancer rehabilitation and we were absolutely blown away by the response. The awards recognised the huge impact that cancer rehabilitation services have across patients’ cancer experiences. The categories for the competition were:

  • Personalised care in prehabiliation
  • Personalised care in rehabilitation during and/or after treatment
  • Personalised care in palliative rehabilitation
  • Personalised care in rehabilitation physical activity service

We received a large number of high quality entries – not that we would have expected anything less from the fantastic services across the region. The quality was so high that it even inspired the introduction of a new recognition, Highly Commended for Excellence in Patient Empowerment.

It was a real privilege for us when announcing all of the winners of the competition. We are so pleased to showcase all of these services:

TCST Competition for Cancer Rehabilitation 2019 Winners:

Personalised Care in Prehabilitation

First prize Get Set 4 Surgery Team at St George’s University NHS FT

Personalised Care in Rehabilitation During and/or After Treatment

First prize


South East London Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation Service
Highly commended Neuro-oncology Rehabilitation service at Barts Health NHS Trust

Highly commended for rehabilitation for young adult
Royal Marsden TYA Therapies Service

Personalised Care in Palliative Rehabilitation

First prize


Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead Therapy Team
Highly Commended Living Well at Home Team, St Christopher’s Hospice

Personalised Care in Rehabilitation Physical Activity Service

First prize


Move More Wandsworth
Highly commended Moving Forward Team at YMCA Thames Gateway

Highly Commended for Excellence in Patient Empowerment

• Macmillan Cancer Psychological Support (CaPS) Team at St George’s University Hospital NHS FT
• Paediatrics and Teenage Cancer Therapies Team at University College London Hospitals NHS FT

Each winning and highly commended service will be featured in our upcoming commissioning guidance for cancer rehabilitation, as an example of best practice in delivering personalised care. Winning services will also receive a continual support package from the TCST team in helping to showcase their work, including support in applying for national awards and conferences. We also hope to produce a suite of resources based on all of the entries, as the competition has highlighted how much good practice is going on across London and West Essex.

Personalised care has never been more important. The last 25 years has seen the population of people living with cancer double to 2.5 million and Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that by 2040, 1 in 2 of us will experience cancer – that’s 5.3 million people in the UK.

Of those of us that do, 72% will also have another long-term condition and 1 in 4 will continue to face poor health or disability during and following their cancer treatment. This is why cancer rehabilitation is so important; not only do these brilliant services support people in managing the long-term consequences of treatment but they also support people through the whole experience, from diagnosis and through treatment.

Personalised care means not only providing the best treatment possible, but helping people to live the best life they can. That’s exactly what cancer rehabilitation services do.”

About the author

Sophie Lansdowne is project manager for personalised care for cancer within the Transforming Cancer Services Team. Her work focuses largely on rehabilitation and psychosocial support as integral parts of cancer services. She has worked in quality improvement and personalised care in the NHS for the past five years. Sophie’s career started at what was then London Cancer, before joining the Point of Care Foundation to support frontline teams to deliver patient and family centred quality improvement programmes. She then joined the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as their quality improvement programme manager, focusing on the use of clinical audit data and clinical services accreditation in service improvement.

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