Northern Cancer Alliance Early Diagnosis Transformation programme: Evaluation report

Choudhary, Carolyn, Grimwood, Tom and Goodwin, Victoria (2019) Northern Cancer Alliance Early Diagnosis Transformation programme: Evaluation report. Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE). (Unpublished) Item availability may be restricted.

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In 2018, Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE) at the University of Cumbria was commissioned by the Northern Cancer Alliance (NCA) to evaluate its Early Diagnosis (ED) Transformation Programme. This programme was active in several localities across the North of England and this report deals with Gateshead, Newcastle, North Cumbria, North Tyneside and Northumberland. The programme began in 2017 and this evaluation started in 2018 and concluded in March 2019.

The ED programme aimed to work in partnership with a range of stakeholders to reduce inequalities in cancer survival and improve cancer outcomes, via planned and targeted support for specific groups. Localities across the North of England were given the opportunity to submit proposals for work in pursuit of funding from the NCA. The funding awarded, broadly supports three specific approaches:
- Band 4 (or equivalent) awareness-raising posts;
- Band 5 cancer pathways posts; and,
- Community-based projects.

Effectiveness of the posts:
It is apparent from the data gathered, collated and analysed to be reported here, that the posts have been well-received and are able to report a number of successes. Some of those successes are more tangible than others, in part due to the differentiated nature of the posts.

With regard to the Awareness Raising posts, it is evident that this area abounds with creative and tenacious activity to work with a wide range of groups and individuals across a significant number of settings. The descriptions of success tend to be around: new ‘platforms’ or settings being accessed; gaining access to groups of people who might be considered marginalised; targeting deprivation where cancer incidence is high and survival rates are lowest; getting the attention of people attending events and finding methods which worked in terms of contact and dissemination. It is difficult not to be struck by the variation in the activity and the diversity of the groups of people who have been engaged. The challenge for this sort of role, however, is how to create metrics and then capture data against those, to evidence the effects of the activity.

In terms of the Cancer Champion role, this model of cascade training seems to be highly efficient and effective with regard to increasing numbers of these roles across a locality. Additionally, the Champion role can be understood as requiring sensitivity and an appreciation of the nuanced circumstances the role might interface with. This role can also be considered a significant success, although creating ‘hard’ evidence of effect or impact is similarly complex to that of the Awareness Raising role.

The Pathway Navigator role is reported as a significant success in supporting secondary care to achieve cancer waiting time targets. Effectively aiding and supporting patients in their movement through the system. The recognition of success is captured in the interviews analysed for this work and key quotes in the body of this report give a flavour of the overarching positivity around the role.

As a programme which piloted new approaches it was affected by wider landscape factors, for example, changes in staffing, recruitment hurdles, funding timelines and more. However, notwithstanding some of those challenges, the programme has worked well and can demonstrate success across a number of areas. The engagement of stakeholders, utilising networks and generally taking an asset or attribute-based approach to the work, appears to have paid dividends in terms of the reach and contact made.

While direct impact of the roles is difficult to ascertain, for the reasons set out below, they are believed to have been successful and can demonstrate a range and richness of activity which should be recognised. Some of this has been achieved, without doubt, because of creative thinking and tenacity by postholders.

The location of those roles has become a matter of importance, the location is significant for contact with others working in similar areas or areas with synergy to the aims of this programme, the location can also be crucial in ensuring the postholder’s ability to access data. This is considered further in the body of the report.

Overall, the programme should be considered a success. Future programmes taking on similar aims and objectives would be enhanced by the design and implementation of a systematic data collection which would enable project and programme leads to more robustly evidence the effect, impact and reach of the projects.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE)
Departments: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Additional Information: This report has been written by HASCE, the University of Cumbria, working under commission to the Northern Cancer Alliance. All content included in this report is therefore the property of both the University of Cumbria and the Northern Cancer Alliance and permission must be given by both organisations before any usage of the material.
Depositing User: Laura Snell
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 09:32
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2023 11:22
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