New Care Models for Cancer – Accelerating Progress in a Resource Constrained Environment

The Cancer Vanguard recently published the first-year evaluation of the vanguard which has been conducted by Optimity Advisors with Technopolis Group and shared the key lessons that the Vanguard has learnt over the 2 years of funding as part of NHS England’s New Care Model’s programme.

In the context of work that we are doing with integrated systems internationally, I (Niamh Lennox-Chhugani) was asked to reflect on those lessons and specifically on what can be taken forward by alliances and integrated systems that do not have the luxury of the same level of transformation funding.

The three most impactful “low cost” mechanisms, in monetary terms at least (there are no doubt opportunity costs), that the Cancer Vanguard experimented with and ultimately rolled out were:

  1. Meaningful engagement with local populations and people living with and beyond cancer in the design and delivery of new models of care. Amongst the goals of integrated care systems are person-centred care and population health. These can only be achieved with the full participation of the people in the system. The Cancer Vanguard demonstrated the early effects on awareness and early diagnosis of meaningful engagement and participation.
  2. Giving staff the permission to experiment with new models of care based and the information tools they needed to monitor and evaluate the effect these models were having over time, share this learning across organisational boundaries and make timely decisions based on information and intelligence about whether to adapt, roll out or stop an experiment.
  3. Using theories of change right at the beginning of the design of a new care model as a way of including everyone who needs to be involved, including people living with and beyond cancer, in developing and understanding the new model, its underlying assumptions, costs, methods of delivery, outputs, and ultimately benefits.

Taken in conjunction, these relatively low cost, high impact changes create powerful conditions in which new models of care focused on people’s needs that can, with time, contribute to the better cancer outcomes.


Niamh Lennox-Chhugani


Niamh has 25 years of experience at senior levels in health provision, commissioning, policy making and research internationally and is the firm’s lead advisor for NHS and local government transformation. Niamh specializes in strategic delivery of innovative models of care across organisational boundaries and real-world implementation of public sector policies using rapid evaluation and learning cycle methods to inform implementation and provide real time feedback to decision-makers, frontline staff and service users. 


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