Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Cancer prevention, care and research in England - priorities for diagnostics, local care delivery and accessing innovation

Morning, Tuesday, 25th August 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine key current issues for cancer care, prevention and research in England.

The conference is bringing together stakeholders to assess progress on meeting the national targets set for cancer in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Areas for discussion include:

  • priorities for diagnostics
  • local care delivery
  • accessing innovation
  • meeting national ambitions for cancer

We also expect a focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those affected by cancer, their diagnosis and treatment and what can be learned for the future from steps that the NHS is taking to enable patients to continue treatment and have check-ups as initiatives to make treatment more convenient are accelerated.

It comes with NHS England warning people still to come forward if they have any concerns around cancer symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic amid reports of a significant proportion of service users having worries around getting help - and with the Health Secretary confirming that the new Nightingale hospitals will be converted into cancer testing centres.

The agenda:

  • Meeting national ambitions for cancer care, the impact of COVID-19 and priorities going forward - with Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy and Influence, Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Developing Cancer Alliances - progress, best practice and implementing five-year plans - with Naser Turabi, Managing Director, North Central London Cancer Alliance
  • Priorities for cancer screening and prevention - accountability, accessibility and reducing inequalities - with Dr Robert Sherriff, National Lead, PHE Screening
  • Cancer diagnosis and care in England - progress of Rapid Diagnostic Centres, workforce priorities, meeting diagnostic capacity and delivering personalised care
  • Assessing the next steps for improving less survivable cancer outcomes - with Dr David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer, The Brain Tumour Charity
  • Increasing access to innovative cancer research and technologies - the use of genomics and AI, building trust, developing adoption and the role of regulation
  • Progress of the Cancer Drugs Fund and next steps for improving access to cancer drugs - with Professor Peter Clark, Clinical Lead, Cancer Drugs Fund, NHS England

The discussion in detail:

The COVID-19 pandemic - its impact on cancer patients, and on managing care and treatment, and how clinicians and care systems are dealing with the challenges, including:

  • innovation in the ways of making sure patients still receive treatments whilst keeping isolated
  • planning for how the NHS manages to deliver cancer procedures that get rescheduled
  • how the backlog is prioritised and dealt with as the situation is ongoing
  • the strategies used to meet all referral targets for suspected cancer diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring the appropriate referrals are made
  • learning from how cancer patients have been supported during the pandemic, with soaring demand from patients seeking help with their mental wellbeing, including progress of the COVID-free hubs and use of remote support with closure of support centres

Cancer Alliances - their progress in providing cancer care across local areas, as Alliances are publishing their 5-year implementation plans, looking at:

  • networked care and linking services
  • examples of best practice
  • priorities for implementing  the Alliance plans going forward

Integrated care systems - their development around the country, with discussion expected on:

  • what integrated care looks like for cancer
  • the relationship between the NHS and local government
  • priorities for social care

Screenings - and improving accessibility, in the context of the independent review by Professor Sir Mike Richards, with discussion expected on:

  • the governance and accountability of the programme, with the recommendation that this should be done solely by NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • practicalities involved in meeting the target set in the NHS Long Term Plan that by 2028 the NHS will diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2, attendees, looking at:
    • making screenings more convenient including timing, location, and public communication
    • the challenges for implementation and how they can be overcome
  • tackling health inequalities in relation to cancer, including:
    • how to improve cancer outcomes for people who are deprived and less likely to attend screenings
    • ways of reducing variation in different areas

Diagnosis - and achieving national ambitions in this area, looking at:

  • priorities for using new government support for projects aimed at enabling patients to receive earlier and more accurate diagnoses for conditions including oesophageal and bowel cancer, and cancer relapse, using AI and other technologies
  • the roll out of Rapid Diagnostics Centres, including:
    • progress in their establishment
    • the delivery of faster diagnosis and making the process of diagnosis more effective
    • the patient experience using the Centres
  • the new diagnosis standard for patients introduced as part of the NHS Long Term Plan at the start of the year, which aims for a definitive diagnosis outcome within 28 days, looking at:
    • early indications on progress and any further steps that need to be put into place to meet and maintain the standard, including dealing with the impact of COVID-19
    • priorities for the workforce and diagnostics industry in delivering the capacity required
    • progress in the delivery of personalised care plans
  • approaches that can be taken to measure quality of life and what this looks like for cancer patients in the short term from diagnosis to more long term

Less survivable cancers - and the treatment of patients, including:

  • priority areas for investment
  • prevention, and promoting earlier diagnosis through increasing awareness of symptoms
  • focused research
  • more efficient access to treatment

Research and innovation - and addressing barriers to widespread adoption, with areas of discussion including:

  • artificial intelligence and similar areas of innovation, looking at:
    • capturing their use of in treating and diagnosing cancer
    • the opportunities for areas such as precision medicine
    • encouraging trust in the technology, both for cancer clinicians and patients
  • genomics - following the announcement last year that the NHS will offer genome sequencing to people with certain cancers and rare diseases, attendees will consider:
    • how this has progressed and been responded to so far
    • the benefits that a personalised treatment has been able to offer
    • the opportunities for progressing the role of genomics in the future
  • speeding up the process of adopting research, looking at:
    • regulation of clinical trials
    • approaches to drug pricing
    • how best to balance regulation, standards, patient safety and fast access to innovative treatment in order to improve cancer outcomes
    • the Cancer Drugs Fund - progress and the next steps for improving access to cancer drugs

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the DHSC and the MHRA.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Professor Peter Clark

Clinical Lead, Cancer Drugs Fund

Keynote Speakers

Sara Bainbridge

Head of Policy and Influence, Macmillan Cancer Support

Dr Robert Sherriff

National Lead, PHE Screening

Professor Peter Clark

Clinical Lead, Cancer Drugs Fund

Dr David Jenkinson

Chief Scientific Officer, The Brain Tumour Charity

Naser Turabi

Managing Director, North Central London Cancer Alliance


Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Vice President, Hospice UK and Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hospice and End of Life Care


Dr Hugh Harvey

Managing Director, Hardian Health

Richard Davidson

Chief Executive, Sarcoma UK

Dr Caroline Rubin

Vice President, Royal College of Radiologists

Dr Nicholas van As

Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Medical Director, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Doris-Ann Williams

Chief Executive, BIVDA

Dr Oliver Stovin

Macmillian GP and Joint Cancer Lead, Cambridge and Peterborough CCG

Dr Nirmish Patel

Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Cambridge Cancer Genomics

Nikki Roebuck

Medical Director for Women’s Cancers UK, GSK

Sabine Martin

Advanced nurse practitioner, Rapid Access Diagnostic Clinic, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust