In the Northern Cancer Alliance, we are treating more cancers and our ability to diagnose and manage cancer with new innovations and technological advances increases year on year.

Cancer survival rates are higher than they have ever been before. However we cannot continue to transform cancer services to meet the changing needs of our population if we do not have the workforce to implement new treatments, support new ways of working and make a difference to the experience of our patients.

It is essential therefore that the Alliance has cancer workforce at the heart of its work plan. As an Alliance we need to work together to identify the workforce impact of future service models, to assess, plan and implement the investment and services required to ensure we are able to make the most of working with new developments.

An important element of planning and developing the future workforce is ensuring that the current workforce has access to the training and education it requires to change and meet demand.  We have updated our virtual cancer academy to enhance the skills of those who are key to the patient journey from early diagnosis onwards.

As part of the Northern Cancer Alliance commitment to workforce, a three-year workforce strategy has been developed.

The aims and objectives of the Northern Cancer Alliance Workforce Plan are:

  • To incorporate the main requirements of the People Plan for the cancer workforce:
    • Growing and upskilling the workforce.
    • New ways of delivering care.
    • Culture and leadership.
  • To support improved outcomes for people diagnosed with cancer in the region.
  • Work in collaboration with the Integrated Care System (ICS), Health Education England (HEE), Health and Social Care Providers and third sector organisations to increase the workforce, developing knowledge and skills in the seven professions in the HEE Cancer Workforce Plan.
  • To action the Long-Term Plan Workforce Deliverables, working with systems to:
    • Take up available training opportunities for: reporting radiographers, Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) training grants, chemotherapy nurse training grants, and biomedical scientist placements.
    • Recruit, deploy and retain CNS, cancer support workers, volunteers, and navigators.
    • Support local oncology services to identify and share skill mix best practice.
    • Identify best practice and share via effective routes including monthly workforce working group meetings.
    • Work with local systems to support take up of NHS England’s staff wellbeing offer.

An Easy read version of the workforce plan is being produced and will be available later this year.

For further information relating planning and development of the future cancer workforce please access reports from Macmillan and reports and toolkits from Health Education England below.

Cancer workforce – Macmillan Cancer Support

Health Education England: Cancer Workforce Plan

Workforce planning and intelligence | Health Education England (

Links that support workforce planning/ re-design:

Workforce Transformation | Health Education England (

The HEE Star is a directory of offer, products, and resources available through HEE to support those providing healthcare services in addressing workforce challenges:

HEE Star: Accelerating workforce redesign | Health Education England

Health Education England Star (