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East Lancashire doctor honoured for life-changing work

Silver medallist and motivational speaker Roger Anthony Black MBE, presented Dr Neil Smith with an award at the prestigious 2015 Macmillan Excellence Awards, held at The Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham on 12 November.

The awards, which are now in their fourth year, were developed to celebrate the outstanding work carried out by Macmillan health and social care professionals across the country. The event recognised excellence in four areas: service improvement, innovation, integration and teamwork.

Dr Neil Smith, Macmillan GP for NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG and NHS East Lancashire CCG, was nominated for the Innovation Excellence category, and was considered to have demonstrated forward thinking in developing a new product, initiative or service that improves the quality and experience of care for people affected by cancer.

Their award winning work involved a project with the simple message of ‘think cancer’ which has had a demonstrable impact on cancer care. Through delivering some large scale events and engagement with the two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other partners, all 89 GP practices in the area now have a lead cancer GP and practice nurse. The nurses are now competent to carry out cancer care reviews and more than 800 new reviews have already been taken.

Dr Smith has also engaged with acute services to improve the cancer pathway and supported patients to produce patient information, which has increased the update of screening programmes.

Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP) in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen is a pioneering three-year and £1 million pound programme to provide better care and support for cancer patients from the moment of diagnosis to beyond treatment.

More than 300 Macmillan professionals as well as representatives from Macmillan and leading healthcare institutions attended the awards ceremony.

Dr Neil Smith received a certificate and £150 along with the other individual winners, and the team received a plaque and £500.

He said of the honour:“I feel honoured to accept the Macmillan Profession Award for Excellence in Innovation. It reflects the hard work and dedication of a team committed to improve the lives of everyone touched by cancer in our locality. My vision was to create a wide range of sustainable projects and facilitate change in a network of organisations. I am delighted that every practice has been enthusiastically involved and cancer is now seen as a priority area for activity and investment. I would be delighted to share the success and the learning with the whole Macmillan organisation. The overall scheme has had proven impact and outcomes for cancer care in the community.”

Dr Mike Ions, from NHS East Lancashire CCG, added: “We are delighted that Neil has won the Macmillan Professionals Innovation Excellence Award. Neil is passionate about improving cancer services for patients to ensure that they receive the best possible care and treatment. Neil has shown great leadership, working in partnership with Macmillan and other services, across the whole of the Pennine Lancashire area to bring about lasting improvements in cancer care.”

Dr Chris Clayton, from Blackburn with Darwen CCG added: “This award recognises Neil’s hardwork, passion and commitment to ensuring that cancer patients get the best treatment and care possible. Many patients and their families who have been affected by this dreadful disease have already benefited as a result of Neil’s vision and the procedures  and partnerships he has put in place.”

Dr Neil Smith is part of a team of 31 local Macmillan professionals supporting people affected by cancer so that no one has to face it alone.

No one should face cancer alone. For support, information or if you have any questions, call Macmillan Cancer Support free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk