Case Studies

The challenge:

Local data highlighted persistent inequalities in deaths from cancer between local neighbourhoods. In certain communities, people were presenting later with suspected cancer symptoms. Our challenge was to create a large-scale programme to help reduce cancer related deaths by encouraging more people – especially in disadvantaged areas – to visit their doctors earlier.

Our approach:

We developed a brand new model, which combined social marketing, community involvement and rapid improvement methodologies. We built community teams of local people and worked with them to gather insight across networks. This allowed us to segment and target audiences to develop appropriate interventions. The teams also established connections, acting as a “passport” into communities.

We developed a strong performance management framework using monthly report measures to demonstrate impact. We facilitated a multi-agency steering group to support the work and sustain changes. We offered a longer-term focus by providing social marketing training, sharing success and by engaging with local commissioning structures.

The results;

  • A 30% increase in the number of bowel cancers referred into services through 2 week waits, a 65% increase in prostate cancer referrals and a 25% increase in gynaecological cancer referrals.
  • 15% increase in the number of people confident in identifying cancer symptoms
  • 11% increase in the number of people who would seek help if they identified cancer symptoms
  • An impact report highlighted the innovative social marketing approach and its affect on organisational priorities including supporting the organisation in positioning its “products” in the market
  • The work won several awards, including the NHS Alliance Award (2008) and the Yorkshire and Humber NHS Health and Social Care Award. It was also national finalist in the Health and Social Care Awards (2008), and the Health Service Journal Awards for Best Social Marketing Project (2008).

You can download an executive summary of an impact report here.

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