A partnership of leading cancer hospitals, launched to improve services and save  thousands of lives, has been awarded £7million to pursue its work.

The Cancer Vanguard  was launched at the end of 2015 to boost cancer services by focusing on early diagnosis and better prevention.

Nationally,  The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, lead the vanguard.

The three organisations will lead a local delivery system – Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard, RM Partners and UCLH Cancer Collaborative – which comprises health organisations in their area, including clinical commissioning groups, NHS acute trusts, community services and hospices, that will develop and trial new models to improve cancer care along the patient ‘pathway’.

The hospitals joined forces to pilot innovations in the way cancer services are planned and delivered. One of the chief aims of the partnership is to reduce inequalities in treatment and outcomes for patients.

The vanguard will also focus on improving the quality of treatment along the whole of the patient pathway, from before a patient is diagnosed with cancer through to aftercare and end-of-life care.

NHS England announced the £7m funding as part of its vanguard programme, under which local health organisations have formed partnerships to explore new models of care.

The aim is for these partnerships to provide new blueprints for delivering services in other parts of the country.

In 2015 the Independent Cancer Taskforce was established to look at how cancer services are currently provided and to set out a vision for what cancer patients should expect from the health service.

The Taskforce produced a report, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes – A Strategy for England 2015-2020, which included 96 recommendations to help transform the care that the NHS delivers for all those affected by cancer.

As part of the National Cancer Strategy, a plan has now been launched to make these changes a reality. It is designed to increase cancer prevention, speed up diagnosis, invest in technology, improve patient experience and help people living with and beyond cancer.

Cally Palmer CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden and the National Cancer Director for England, said: ‘At the heart of The Cancer Vanguard is a drive to transform cancer care and improve services for thousands of people. We know that early diagnosis is key for better patient outcomes. This funding will help us develop new models of care that are ambitious and that will aim to improve survival, patient experience, and quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer.’

Roger Spencer, chief executive of The Christie, said: ‘We’ve been given the opportunity to radically improve cancer services and we intend to grasp it with both hands.

‘The funding will help us pursue some really exciting innovations in the way we plan and deliver services and ensure every patient receives care of the highest quality.’

Professor Geoff Bellingan, medical director, surgery and cancer, UCLH, said: ‘Working together with other leading providers of cancer care gives us a great opportunity to make real and lasting improvements in patient outcomes today and for future generations.’