Changing the conversation about health

Penny Brohn: innovation


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Treatment Support Centre Innovation

  • First project set up jointly by an NHS cancer treatment centre and a charity to provide lifestyle, self-help and complementary support
  • Specifically for people receiving NHS cancer treatments.
  • Multidisciplinary team including oncologists, cancer nurses, psychologists, nutritional therapists, physical activity facilitators and an integrative doctor.


  • Oncologists are wary of patients making unsupervised lifestyle changes or accessing complementary support during active treatment, fearing interactions or adverse events
  • Patients who want to play a role in their own health-maintenance and recovery feel unsupported, confused and disempowered.


  • Users at different stages of cancer journey with differing needs
  • Regular attendance limited by hospital appointments

What is working well?

  • High attendance
  • Increasing numbers of referrals direct from NHS
  • More diverse patient groups accessing service
  • More NHS staff awareness and support
  • Excellent user feedback
  • Promising early pilot evaluation results (MYCAW)
  • Record sharing with NHS

Areas for development

  • Better communication with NHS, especially reports back with outcomes of involvement in self-care
  • Focused data collection and outcomes evaluation (?physiological measures ?health economics)
  • To ensure the clinic is more widely accessible and adapted for harder-to-reach groups