A cancer summit took the first steps towards making a real difference to the lives of people living with cancer and their families.

The event ‘Working Together to Beat Cancer in West Cheshire and Wirral’ saw more than 80 people gathering at the Holiday Inn in Ellesmere Port to discuss local cancer services including NHS England cancer director Sean Duffy, senior clinicians and patients.

Backed by the NHS clinical commissioning groups for West Cheshire and the Wirral, the aims of the event were to raise awareness of current cancer related issues common across both NHS areas, share good practice, encourage joined up working and to produce a collaborative cancer strategy.

Dr Maria Earl, a GP and cancer clinical lead on the Wirral, who opened the event, said: “We hope that from this meeting, that is bringing individuals together who have an interest in cancer care across our region, we will have the opportunity to share experiences, celebrate successes but also consider possible new approaches particularly with regard to early diagnosis and treatment pathways for cancer care.”

She continued: “Cancer remains the biggest cause of premature death for our population and we know that earlier detection of cancer is one of the keys to saving lives.”

The summit involved looking at the national and local cancer picture, the approach of clinical commissioning groups and best practice.

Delegates had the opportunity to join groups to look at either certain types of cancer or the treatment and support available. These included ovarian, colorectal, lung and skin cancers, acute oncology, older people, information  and palliative medicine.

The workshops were led by senior consultants from Wirral University Teaching Hospital, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Wirral Hospice St John’s and the Countess of Chester Hospital among others.

Representing patients cancer survivor Sue Kernaghan said: “The changes to the NHS and the demise of the Mersey and Cheshire Cancer Network have meant a huge reorganisation of how cancer services are commissioned so the cancer summit, a joint event from the two clinical commissioning groups and involving local trusts was a welcome look at cancer services.

“As patients we had the opportunity to feed into the work groups that will inform how services will be planned in the future. An excellent day and I am sure it will help improve how cancer services are delivered throughout West Cheshire and the Wirral”

Dr Rachael Warner, a GP and West Cheshire cancer clinical lead, who closed the event, said: “It is fantastic that so many people have come together to influence the future of cancer services across West Cheshire and Wirral.

“Having a mix of clinicians and patients provided the ideal balance for us to consider how we improve services locally.

“This is the first step towards working together and making a real difference to the lives of people living with cancer and their families.”

Organisers expressed special thanks to Macmillan who kindly provided the grant to support the event.