Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care: cancer strategy for children and young people 2021–2026

This Managed Service Network (MSN) for Children and Young People with cancer (CYPC) strategy celebrates the achievements to date as well as setting out ambitions for the coming 5 years.


Cancer can affect anyone at any age and touches not only the person receiving the diagnosis, but also their friends and family. Receiving a cancer diagnosis at any point in an individual's life is never easy, but receiving one at such a young age is especially difficult. We know that diagnosis has come a long way, with survival rates remaining stable for children and young people. However there is still more that we can do to support this age group to live long, healthy and happy lives.

Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care marks an exciting time for children and young people's cancer services as the first strategy for this age group. This strategy emphasises the Scottish Government's commitment to improving services nationally and supporting a consistent application of care and treatment across the country. I recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has incurred a period of unprecedented challenge and change to health care services; however throughout this NHS Scotland has continued to prioritise its children and young people's cancer services. The strategy builds from what is already happening to set out a new course for better services in the future.

Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care strives to address the challenges of demographic change and the rising demands on the health service. The strategy sets out a direction and focus for those working within children and young people's cancer services. It has been developed in collaboration with clinicians themselves, partners and patients, past and present. It is the Scottish Government's strong belief that service users should have a voice in how services are developed. Members of the public have played a significant role in determining the strategic direction and I hope that this is evident throughout the strategy. It is underpinned by a guiding aim – 'a national service that strives to improve clinical outcomes, psychosocial care and patient experience'.

We have already achieved great success through the development of the national Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer. In the last decade the network has provided an opportunity for those working within and alongside children and young people's oncology and haematology services to work to collective priorities which are consistent across Scotland. Although these services operate at a national level, by undertaking a Scotland-wide perspective, we can support equity of service provision and quality.

This vision is to provide – 'a national, specialist, multidisciplinary and age appropriate service for children and young people who are living with and beyond cancer'. We want this strategy to ensure children and young people are firmly at the centre of care with shared decision making at the core; supported by expertly resourced teams. The ambitions, objectives and actions within this strategy will provide real and tangible benefits for individuals, their families and carers.

Enabling approaches, including reablement, rehabilitation and supported self-management will be pivotal to underpinning the delivery of children and young people's cancer care. The achievement of this will depend largely on both practitioners and the people who use these services; their families and carers working together and employing strategies to support children and young people to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

The strategy connects with our current policy for children and young people, recognising the use of 'Getting it Right for Every Child' and contributions to emerging national work such as the National Cancer Plan for adult cancer services. The service developments already happening, or that have happened, for children and young people with cancer are also reflected in the strategy. This builds for a strong foundation in the future design and delivery of services.

However, the success of this strategy cannot be delivered in isolation or solely by the Managed Service Network. It will require strong leadership across NHS Scotland, utilising the clinical expertise available. This leadership will be essential to drive innovation and the delivery of high quality, effective, efficient, timely and responsive services that are developed around the needs of children, young people and their families. Furthermore, success will require strong partnership working and collaboration across agencies.

I would like to thank all of those involved in the creation of this strategy and those involved in the delivery of children and young people's cancer services. The Managed Service Network will continue to be dedicated to the needs of patients, influenced by their families. It will support the delivery of services to children and young people with cancer, informed by the work of the multidisciplinary teams and will optimise the outcomes for children in Scotland who have a diagnosis of cancer through age-appropriate, safe and effective services; provided as local as possible and as specialised as necessary.

My thanks go to the huge number of people who have helped set and deliver this excellent vision.

Humza Yousaf, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care



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