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Launch of two new Joint Working Projects with national Cancer Vanguard sites

Novartis has announced the launch of two new Joint Working Projects with national Cancer Vanguard sites, which aim to identify ways to improve cancer patient care pathways and access to services.

The projects will be based at The Christie in Greater Manchester and within the UCLH Cancer Collaborative region (north and east London), covering a catchment population of 6.9 million people. The two projects are part of Novartis’ ongoing commitment to combine resources, time, and expertise with the NHS, with the aim to significantly improve cancer patient outcomes.

With one in two people born after 1960 expected to develop cancer at some point in their lifetime,1 optimising working practices and addressing variations in care is essential to ensure the best outcomes for cancer patients. Central to both Joint Working Projects is the use of data analytics to generate insights, which will be used to improve cancer patients’ experiences, one of the six key priorities of the NHS cancer strategy.2

The Joint Working Project with UCLH Cancer Collaborative will adopt the use of Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) level balanced scorecards to capture service outcomes data for breast, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, and prostate cancer patient pathways. This service level data will include information on cancer patients’ waiting times versus targets, the number of patients diagnosed with cancer, and the proportion of patients being prescribed chemotherapy and receiving it at home. Patient or clinical information will not be disclosed as part of the project.

Decisions on clinical practice are informed by data, however, information from these pathways is not currently captured under one source, and varies across different types of cancer and hospitals. The NHS and Novartis are jointly funding two project analysts to manage the project and to compare data from the MDT scorecards to service standards in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) treatment guidelines. Insights will be used by staff to improve MDTs’ effectiveness and enhance patient care pathways, to develop care levels that are tailored to individual patient needs and provide a better quality of service for patients.

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Through the use of the MDT scorecards, we will be able to gather data on service outcomes across multiple cancers to identify areas for improvement,” said Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, chief medical officer for UCLH Cancer Collaborative. “Reducing variations in cancer treatment pathways is vital to ensuring our patients receive the highest level of care we can provide them, regardless of the staging or type of cancer they have.”

The Joint Working Project with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust will work to address care pathway inconsistencies in breast cancer, the most common cancer in the UK accounting for 31% of all new cancer diagnoses in women.3 The project includes a partnership with IQVIA, a leading global provider of information and innovative technology solutions, to analyse current breast cancer pathways and identify opportunities to enhance care. This will involve examining relevant anonymised healthcare data including Public Health England’s Cancer Analysis System (CAS) and NHS Hospital Episodic Statistics (HES) to establish the current state of the breast cancer treatment pathways across Greater Manchester so that variations in access to care can be better understood. The project will also evaluate patient journeys by enabling patients to record their experiences of treatment pathways through the use of innovative technology provided by the app, uMotif. It is anticipated that findings from the project will lead to improvements in the timeliness of treatment interventions for patients, and provide clarity on where to focus resource efforts, subsequently helping to address any variation in access to treatment.

At The Christie we are committed to improving treatments and pathways for our patients, and this partnership will allow us to harness the power of data analytics to improve care for patients with secondary breast cancer,” said Professor Andrew Wardley, clinical director of NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at The Christie. “We are hopeful that the success in this project could lead to advancements in care for breast cancer patients across the country.”

If the two initiatives are successful, the models and recommendations could be implemented more widely in their respective regions and potentially rolled out nationally, providing a standard for best practice. Mari Scheiffele, Oncology General Manager, Novartis UK & Ireland, said: “Our partnerships with the NHS are of paramount importance as we work towards our shared goal of improving treatment pathways and care for cancer patients. Pooling resources to identify areas for improvement and possible solutions helps to ensure patients receive the best possible outcomes.”

The Independent Cancer Taskforce outlined their cancer strategy following on from the publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which identified a focus on improving outcomes across the whole cancer pathway.2,4 Initiatives such as these Joint Working Projects demonstrate Novartis’ commitment to supporting this goal.


  1. Ahmad A.S., Ormiston-Smith N. & Sasieni P.D. Trends in the lifetime risk of developing cancer in Great Britain: comparison of risk for those born from 1930 to 1960. British Journal of Cancer, 2015:112; 942-947.
  2. Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: Taking the strategy forward. 2016. Available from: Last Accessed: March 2018.
  3. Cancer Research UK. Breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics. Available from: Last Accessed: March 2018.
  4. NHS Five Year Forward View 2014. Available from: Last Accessed: March 2018.