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In January 2015, the NHS invited individual organisations and partnerships to apply to become ‘vanguard’ sites for the NHS England New Care Models programme. This would be one of the first steps towards delivering the Five Year Forward View and support improvement and integration of services.

Each vanguard site would take a lead on the development of new care models that will act as blueprints for the NHS moving forward and an inspiration to the rest of the health and care system. In October 2015 one national Cancer Vanguard was established which is contributing to the delivery of the key outcomes from the National Cancer Strategy.

The Cancer Vanguard is jointly led by three provider organisations: The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, working across a total population of 10.7 million – 18% of England’s population. As such it provides an unprecedented opportunity to transform care and create scalable and replicable options for the whole country.

Each of the three cancer vanguard organisations leads a local delivery system – Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation, RM Partners in north west and south west London, and UCLH Cancer Collaborative covering north east and central London and west Essex.

The guiding principles across the Cancer Vanguard include:

  • Ensuring that outcomes that matter to patients and families are authentically at its centre
  • That the work programme will be in the best interests of the cancer population of London and Manchester, not that of individual organisations
  • Using clinically led measurement and evidence to set the level of ambition and inform learning and improvement
  • Encompassing the whole cancer pathway with an emphasis on early diagnosis and detection, as this has the most potential to improve survival outcomes and patient experience
  • Developing robust governance and streamlined commissioning and delivery processes focused on transformational change that delivers good stewardship of sector resources.

Collaboration is key to the success of the Cancer Vanguard. By working radically yet inclusively across the defined population, incorporating all partners from public health and screening, primary and community care, secondary and tertiary care and hospice care, the Cancer Vanguard will provide innovative, high quality, evidence based care across the whole patient pathway.

For more information on the three local delivery systems: