Mil Vukovic-Smart
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Collaboration for better patient outcomes

Mil Vukovic-Smart
Posted by
11 Mar 2015

An update from our annual policy dinner at the Speaker’s House

Last week Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research held its fifth annual policy dinner at the Speaker’s House kindly hosted by Rt Hon John Bercow MP. What started as a mutual desire to do something good for the charity by Alastair Campbell, our chairman of fundraising, and Mr Speaker, who wanted to make the Speaker’s House more open to the public and good causes, become a regular fixture on our annual policy calendar.

Whilst previous events focussed on our research and Trials Acceleration Programme, this year we discussed the challenges of collaboration and innovation and how charity partnering with the NHS, government, industry and academia ultimately deliver improved outcomes for patients.

We were delighted to have a broader audience around the table, including senior figures from the NHS, parliament and blood cancer arena - Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, and Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer, as well as Jamie Reed MP, Labour Shadow Health Minister and Clara Mackay, Chair, Cancer52, an umbrella organisation for rare and less common cancers, including blood cancers, which account for more than half of all cancer deaths in the UK. We were also particularly pleased to have a good representation from our blood cancer community – Lymphoma Association, Leukaemia Care and African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.

We heard valuable insights on innovation in other sectors and across government from Dr Andrea Siodmok, Head of Innovation Policy Lab at the Cabinet Office and Avid Larizadeh Duggan, General Partner at Google Ventures. Among issues discussed the conversation highlighted the importance of user experience and the role of iteration in meeting customer needs better; and that we should not be too hang up on the somewhat overused word ‘innovation’ but look at how we could make good ideas happen.

There was a general consensus that more could be done to unlock the potential of big data and thick, qualitative data, for patient benefit. Cathy Gilman, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Chief Executive shared a sneak preview of the findings from our year long study to identify the needs of all blood cancer patients. The study brought together population data, clinical and scientific knowledge, national cancer intelligence data and authentic patient voices in a unique way. The first report from this research will be published in April 2015.

Cathy rounded up the evening ended with a message to politicians not to forget the charities in any future life science and health agenda - charities are key players in driving medical innovation and improving lives of patients and their families. At the same time she reminded everyone around the table that authentic patient-led improvements can only be achieved through a collaborative effort – we can’t do it alone. We cannot achieve our vision and mission without collaborating with others – other charities, NHS, government, industry and academia. And you, our supporters! We therefore look forward to keeping in touch and working together with you on achieving our mission to stop people dying from blood cancer, to make patients’ lives better and to stop people getting blood cancer in the first place.



So proud that we're at heart of efforts to bring collaboration and patient needs to the attention of government. Sounds like it was a successful evening and we can only hope that the needs of patients will be considered going forwards regardless of who gets in to Downing Street after the next election.