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Suspected Cancer Pathways project expands to focus on cellular pathology

A project aiming to minimise the time taken to diagnose cancers in Wales has been further expanded to focus on cellular pathology. 

The Suspected Cancer Pathways project, funded by the National Strategic Clinical Network for Cancer and implemented in partnership with Improvement Cymru and vehicle manufacturer Toyota, aims to support teams across NHS Wales to apply Lean methodology to streamline patient pathways for suspected cancers.

As part of the project, participating cancer multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are working with the Toyota Lean Management Centre to understand how principles from the Toyota Production System can be applied to the cancer pathways, while experts from Improvement Cymru are supporting teams to develop and implement their change ideas.

Across two phases, the project has already supported seven NHS Wales cancer MDTs to identify opportunities to improve pathways across lung, gynaecological, urological, colorectal, and gastrointestinal cancers, and embed expertise in continuous improvement to improve cancer services across Wales.

The project’s new third phase will see a ‘deep dive’ conducted into cellular pathology services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to identify opportunities for streamlining processes, which could be adopted throughout Wales.

Chris Coslett, Programme Manager for the Cancer Network, said: “Extending this partnership project, with a dedicated focus on pathology services, provides an exciting opportunity to drive local service change and to identify key learning that can be rolled out across Wales in the future, with the potential to positively impact a wide range of cancer pathways.”

Iain Roberts, Improvement Cymru head of programmes, added: “Cellular pathology is a critical part of cancer pathways, so the expansion of the Suspected Cancer Pathways project to more deeply explore the potential for improvement in this area provides a really exciting learning opportunity.

“The process-driven nature of cellular pathology really lends itself to the Lean approach in which Toyota offers expertise. Alongside our partners at both Toyota and the National Strategic Clinical Network for Cancer, we’re looking forward to working with the three cellular pathology teams to identify learning and improvement opportunities that can be shared across Wales.”

Find out more about Suspected Cancer Pathways on the Wales Cancer Network website.

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