How we know the programme works

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Results of the two external evaluations of our programme have been positive. Both evaluations have found that Facilitators successfully support healthcare organisations to undertake activities to improve the way they manage cancer.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde there are three dedicated Facilitators who support GP practices via individual visits and at local learning events. The programme is coordinated in partnership between the Health Board, CRUK and the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early Team.

“We were at a bit of a stalemate, engaging with the facilitator really freshened things up and inspired us to do more” - Practice Manager, East Dunbartonshire.

The work of the Greater Glasgow and Clyde team was evaluated by an independent research company in 2015.

Key findings were that Facilitators are effective in:

  • Increasing knowledge and uptake of improvement activities (for example cancer action plans,  audits and use of clinical decision support tools)
  • Encouraging practice staff to discuss cancer and review their priorities
  • Sharing best practice and support practices to change approaches
  • Developing resources for general practice
  • Influencing wider (health board) strategies and processes, for example referral forms

See summary of the report prepared as a poster

See the full report 'Evaluation of the role of the Cancer Research UK Primary Care Engagement Programme'

The programme was also evaluated at the end of 2013, focusing on its delivery in Cheshire and Merseyside, North Central London and West Essex.

The researchers spoke to GPs, practice managers and commissioners to explore the value to them of the Facilitator role. They also analysed the impact of Facilitators on referral practice.

Key findings were:

  • In CCGs with Facilitators, 69% of Practices implemented specified early diagnosis activities (for example, introducing Risk Assessment Tools and undertaking audits) as opposed to only 36% of practices in comparator CCGs.
  • Facilitators reduced variation between practices in referral, conversion and detection rates

The interviews also found that Facilitators are effective in:

  • Providing increased capacity and additional support to GP practices and GP Cancer Leads
  • Influencing wider strategies and processes such as Joint Strategic Needs Assessments
  • Raising awareness of the importance of early diagnosis across a range of clinical areas
  • Supporting practices to review their performance and development of action plans to address areas for improvement
“We visited a practice recently who described that following the initial visit they have changed their two week wait referral pattern” - GP Cancer Lead in Wirral
''I think the model is complementary and works well'' – GP Cancer Lead
''Oh I think the Facilitators are a great resource. I would be stuck without it"  -  GP

Seee the executive summary of the full report

See the full report 'Evaluation of the Cancer Research UK Primary Care Facilitator initiative 2013/14.

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