User involvement at every level is a core principle of our work.

We have adopted a system to ensure that people affected by cancer are involved at every stage in the development of our projects and are equal partners in our approach to improving services.

We believe this approach will ensure our work remains focused on matters that are important to service users.

The framework has been developed by Macmillan, and the Macmillan User Involvement team at Greater Manchester Cancer can call on the help of around 120 people affected by cancer across Greater Manchester and East Cheshire who use their insights to improve services.  That group of patients is now available to offer their experience to Vanguard Innovation.

People affected by cancer will, for instance, co-design with healthcare professionals the training videos designed to help GPs identify vague symptoms in patients. They will also be involved in the set-up and operation of our rapid investigation units, while service user representatives will work alongside clinicians on all our projects.

Tanya Humphreys, Macmillan User Involvement programme manager at Greater Manchester Cancer and Vanguard Innovation, said: ‘The focus in the health service in recent years has shifted towards shared decision-making and the principle of ‘no decision about me without me’.

‘But, while user involvement is regarded as best practice throughout the NHS, unfortunately it isn’t common practice yet.’

In November 2015, Tanya won the Macmillan Integration Excellence Award in recognition of her work in the development of a ground-breaking model for User Involvement. This enabled users to co-design the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service with Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, Bolton Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Tanya added: ‘This framework ensures that people affected by cancer have a genuine and meaningful, not a token, involvement in the way projects are developed.’

  • Tanya Humphreys will be taking on a new role as Macmillan Services Programme Manager for the North West from mid-November 2016