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Our workforce

Our workforce is our most valued and important asset in the fight against cancer.

In Lancashire and South Cumbria, we are proud of the many professionals who have dedicated their careers to working in this field.

However, we recognise that now, more than ever, we need to find new ways of working and embrace new skills and technology to help address workforce gaps both in and out of hospital settings.

Our cancer workforce plan

In line with the ambitions of the NHS People Plan, we are developing cancer workforce plans to ensure that we promote the values of:

  • looking after our people – with quality health and wellbeing support for everyone
  • belonging in the NHS – with a particular focus on tackling the discrimination that some staff face
  • new ways of working and delivering care – making effective use of the full range of our people’s skills and experience
  • growing for the future – how we recruit and keep our people, and welcome back colleagues who want to return

Our approach to growing and developing the workforce is based on the Health Education England (HEE) STAR model.

This is a staged approach which promotes creative solutions to workforce skill mix and new ways of working, related to:

  • Supply or growing the workforce
  • Upskilling
  • New roles and new ways of working
  • Leadership

Growing the workforce

We work in partnership with Health Education England, Our Imaging Network, Pathology Collaborative, Allied Health Professionals Faculty and partner organisations to increase the cancer workforce including the seven key professional groups identified in the national cancer workforce plan.

Cancer Workforce Plan phase 1 - Delivering the cancer strategy to 2021.pdf (hee.nhs.uk)

  1. Clinical radiology

  2. Histopathology and health care scientists

  3. Gastroenterology

  4. Diagnostic radiography

  5. Therapeutic radiography

  6. Medical and clinical oncology

  7. Nursing (cancer nurse specialists)

Upskilling the workforce

Working with Health Education England, Macmillan and higher education institutes, we continue to support access to learning opportunities which will upskill our clinical, nursing, allied health professional (AHP) and health care scientist (HCS) workforce.

Our partnership with Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliances enables us to make optimal use of the cancer, imaging, endoscopy and urology academies in the north west.

We also provide opportunities to upskill our support workers and are aiming to widen access to a range of learning and development to with our alliance partners.

New roles and new ways of working

New roles and ways of working are integral to our review of tumour group pathways, diagnostic and therapeutic services as well as services for people living with and beyond cancer.


It is recognised that the delivery of cancer services requires effective leadership.

A wide range of leadership development programmes are available and modules of learning are incorporated into clinical and non-clinical pre and post registration courses to develop our leaders.

Multidisciplinary workforce development is considered for all services supporting patients with cancer, from diagnosis to treatment and longer term care; in line with our service improvement programmes of work.

We continue to promote the supply of clinical and non-clinical endoscopists through facilitating access to training via the North West Endoscopy Academy.

We continue to utilise the Alliance, Macmillan and HEE funding to ensure there is appropriate cancer nurse specialist (CNS) capacity and to provide relevant training to develop the skills and knowledge of this essential workforce group.

The Alliance will be working to develop our CNSs in line with the emerging national CNS programme (ACCEnD) which outlines a CNS skills and education framework from pre-registration to consultant level practice.

Increasing the supply of chemotherapy nurses within Lancashire and South Cumbria will continue to be promoted through upskilling staff with systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) training.

We are also liaising with HEE to support training capacity through introduction of clinical practice educators where indicated.

A core programme of work continues to ensure that there are sufficient cancer support workers and navigators who support cancer patients through the patient journey from diagnosis to treatment in the delivery of services for all tumour pathways.


For further information or queries please contact

Sarah Emery (cancer workforce lead)


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