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.


Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care, Our Cancer Strategy for Children and Young People in Scotland 2021-2026, is the first NHS Scotland children and young people's cancer strategy which has been clinically led and is underpinned by science. This strategy builds upon the earlier successes of our children and young people's cancer plans in 2012 and 2016; harnessing the enthusiasm and expertise of the multi-professional teams working within the MSN CYPC, 10 years since its conception.

Grounded in the principles of Realistic Medicine, this strategy affords the children and young people of Scotland with the opportunity to receive world class cancer care, using precision medicine, close to home for the majority of their care and in national centres of excellence for the most specialised elements of treatment.

Much has been achieved through the first two cancer plans, from the adoption of national and regional multidisciplinary teams, through investments in specialist teenager and young adult teams and aftercare nursing, to the creation of an early phase clinical trial network comprising Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East of England. Our existing state of the art National Bone Marrow Transplantation service will continue to be supported and developed in addition with an aspiration to expand Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell therapy (CAR-T) to the teenagers and young adults patient group; both providing exciting opportunities for the next five years.

To support territorial Health Boards in the delivery of this strategy, the MSN CYPC leadership model is evolving to include national lead positions for Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs); incorporating those who care for children, teenagers and young adult patients. Recognising the complexity of the landscape, the senior leadership team will use the core pillars of systems leadership; Complex Systems Insight, Coalition-Building and Advocacy Tactics and Collaborative Leadership Skills to facilitate change and further harmonise and improve cancer care for our children and young people. Furthermore, to mirror the established and highly successful teenagers and young adults Clinical Advisory Group (CAG), a paediatric CAG will be commissioned, led by a new national Clinical Lead for paediatrics.

Specific clinical developments supported in this cancer strategy are the commissioning of a national molecular radiotherapy service for children, the move to permanent funding for a dedicated teenagers and young adults workforce (devolved to the territorial Health Boards for delivery), raising the profile of supported care services and holistic care, the evolution of a single site expert centre for the delivering of curative radiotherapy for children and a commitment to work towards the substantive funding of the required infrastructure for molecular characterisation of cancer at diagnosis and relapse, to enable access to modern personalised target treatments.

This strategy places the importance of high quality care for those who cannot be cured and equitable access to ongoing care for those who are cured and experiencing long term impacts from their treatment, at its heart, explicitly calling for parity of these parts of the cancer journey with all others.

Collaborative and Compassionate Cancer Care is our ambitious strategy for the next five years, with measurable actions, which when delivered, will enhance the achievements of the last decade; providing world class cancer care for the children and young people of Scotland.

Dr Nicholas Heaney, Children and Young People's Cancer Strategy Oversight Group Chair



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