Virtual stakeholder workshop - Macmillan Cancer Pathways Programme Evaluation

Enhancing evaluation and building knowledge via a virtual stakeholder workshop - Macmillan Cancer Pathways Programme Evaluation.


In July 2019 Macmillan Cancer Support commissioned M·E·L Research to conduct an evaluation of their Cancer Pathways Programme being delivered at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH). The programme has been running since 2014 and aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of cancer patients by redesigning cancer care follow-up at NUH.

Following the completion of the evaluation in October 2020, M·E·L Research, supported by Macmillan and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, ran a ‘share and learn’ workshop to discuss the evaluation, explore the Programme’s progress, and discuss its future.

The workshop was originally designed to be delivered face-to-face but due to Covid-19 restrictions, M·E·L Research hosted the workshop via MS Teams instead, enabling attendees to join the workshop online. A total of 27 stakeholders attended, including commissioners, clinicians, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Macmillan GPs, NUH management, Macmillan Cancer Pathways Programme Team, third sector partners, and wider stakeholders. Most had been directly involved in delivering the Programme.

Prior to the workshop, attendees were asked to reflect on what they have learned from the Programme, what the key challenges had been, and how they would like to see the Programme develop after January 2021. During the workshop, attendees were encouraged to provide experience-based evidence about lessons learned.

The workshop began with an in-depth summary of M·E·L Research’s evaluation findings followed by discussion points, and then four online break-out sessions, allowing stakeholders responsible for delivering certain areas of the Programme to discuss care planning, treatment summaries, information support, and future commissioning and roll-out. The workshop successfully brought together the key stakeholders in the Programme, during the current pandemic, to discuss its successes, challenges and future sustainability.

As the event host, we learned some practical lessons about how to run this sort of event most effectively. What could be improved for future events includes:

  • Allowing more time for people to join and get the technology working at the start
  • The need to be flexible - some attendees may join the session late and leave early
  • Whilst the number of attendees (27) was manageable for this event, consideration needs to be given more generally to what numbers are manageable for different types of virtual events
  • We learned practical lessons about the use of MS Teams, which generally worked well but as we were hosting the event from our own IT network, attendees couldn’t access the chat function meaning we had to adapt at short notice. We factored in time for people to use the ‘raise hand’ function, with the facilitator ensuring they could ask their question verbally. Had the chat function worked as planned, the event could potentially have had more contributions from attendees.

What worked well was:

  • Investing time in preparation as a team before the session (particularly as we were all going to be in different locations on the day)
  • The team having allocated roles and responsibilities in advance and working to a clear agenda
  • Spending time enabling access to MS Teams for attendees who would all be in different locations and within a range of organisations
  • Factoring in short breaks for attendees
  • The use of Mentimeter to gather anonymous attendee event feedback, which was very successful
  • Lastly, being a good seven months into virtual ways of working meant that attendees were familiar with using technology for meetings and events like these.

If you have a similar project that you would like to discuss, please get in touch with our team today on 0121 604 4664.