In 2018 M·E·L Research was commissioned by Macmillan to carry out a formative and summative evaluation of the Macmillan Integrated Therapy Service at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. The strategic aim of the evaluation was to inform future service developments and the long-term business case for commissioners. The evaluation followed a major re-design of the service in 2014 which involved: a change in the referral criteria for cancer patients, triage and assessments; the integration of specialist Allied Health Professionals into one team; and the recruitment of Assistant Practitioners.
The evaluation considered the rationale behind the service, referral criteria, resources to deliver the service, activities, and outputs and outcomes for patients, staff and stakeholders. M·E·L Research worked with Macmillan and service managers at the Trust to formulate nine Evaluation Questions and an Evaluation Framework. The evaluation was both wide-ranging and in-depth, covering the delivery of the service in two hospitals and across inpatient, outpatient and community settings.
The methodology included a review and analysis of existing data and primary research to fill information gaps via a patient experience survey and in-depth interviews with patients and carers. For staff, the evaluation involved consultation with Therapists, Assistant Practitioners, service coordinators and managers of the service. Stakeholder consultation involved Multi-Disciplinary Team lead consultants and coordinators, the Director of Cancer Services, Cancer Nurse Specialists, GPs, commissioners from CCGs, and representatives of Third Sector organisations.
The final report addressed each of the Evaluation Questions, presented conclusions, and included twelve key recommendations which have been taken forward by the team into an action plan.