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National Cancer Survivorship Initiative

Vocational Rehabilitation Pilot Sites


The process of commissioning pilot sites to test the four level VR model began at the end of 2009.  There were originally six pilot sites who offered  VR services and one, Mount Vernon Cancer Network, which had a workforce development model to up skill the health professionals across the network. 

None of the pilot sites created an entirely new service as this would not be sustainable especially given the short duration of the project.  Each pilot site was asked to build upon local existing services, develop partnerships, fill any service gaps that exist, and provide a case-management approach for patients accessing the pilot site.  The pilot sites were spread across the North East and South East regions of England.  They initially were planned to run for 12 months from April 2010 to March 2011.  At the end of March 2011 five of the pilot sites were extended for a four month period in order to enable further data capture for the evaluation. 

The two pilot sites which closed – South of Tyne and Wear and Blackburn with Darwen were based on the foundations of existing Condition Management Programme – this government funded programme was closed on the 31st March 2011 so it was no longer feasible for them to continue.

The seven pilot sites

 The locations of the seven pilot sites were

  • Sussex,
  • London
  • Hertfordshire
  • Lancashire
  • Yorkshire
  • Tyne and Wear
  • Manchester

 The geographical area covered varies according to pilot proposal from region wide, county wide to local authority area.

Each pilot site is supported people with cancer to remain in work, return to work, or make a transition to a new role which may be unpaid or voluntary work.  To do this the pilots have:

  • Provided access to information and advice on returning to work for employees, employers, and health and social care professionals
  • Signposted people to appropriate services and support
  • Provided access to self-management programmes to help people with cancer better manage treatment side-effects such as pain and fatigue
  • Provided specialist services such as physiotherapy and counseling for people with higher or ongoing needs.

All pilot services are underpinned by the values of respect, dignity, empathy and compassion, which were recommended by the patient representatives involved in the development of the VR model.  Brief summaries of the pilot sites, including additional standout features for each pilot can be downloaded below.

Macmillan is also supporting the development of VR services in the three Celtic nations – for further information please contact  Anil Garcia.

Last updated on August 14, 2012