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Local GP wins regional award for contribution to cancer services in Pennine Lancashire

Dr Neil Smith, a Blackburn GP for over 21 years, a Macmillan GP, and the GP lead for cancer commissioning for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) received the ‘Living the NHS Values’ at the NHS North West Leadership Awards. This follows the national award that he and his team won for the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Award for influencing patient safety in cancer care and services.

Dr Smith said, “I am delighted to receive the ‘Living the NHS Values’ award. However, I am part of an extremely committed and talented team. I was influenced to contribute to improving cancer services having witnessed the terrible impact and consequences of cancer on individuals, family and friends. When I reviewed the cancer statistics in the area and found that they were some of the worst in the country, I realised that we needed to make a concerted effort to improve services and patient care. Being a Macmillan GP, I feel that I can influence change and work with others to have a positive effect on the wider local health environment.”

In addition to his roles as a GP and cancer lead, Dr Smith is also a GP educator and appraiser, and has trained many of the younger GPs working in the area, as well as running many cancer educational events. He also continues to work as the stadium doctor for Blackburn Rovers.

Dr Smith was nominated for the inclusive and supportive way he has worked hard to improve the experience, care and treatment for patients suffering from cancer. It was recognised that his partnership style and patient focus led everyone who has a role in providing cancer care to deliver improvements in cancer services and, more importantly, to think about early cancer detection and prevention to ensure patients receive the right treatment and care at the right time. This philosophy of ‘think cancer’ has reached all 89 GP practices in Pennine Lancashire, East Lancashire Hospital NHS Trust, Macmillan Cancer, local authorities, both East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen CCGs and the voluntary, community and faith sectors.