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Meet the team: #IPLCancer


  • Shereen El Nabhani - Kingston University
  • Netty Wood - British Oncology Pharmacists Association
  • Melanie Dalby, Pharmacist, London
  • Dr.Kunal Patel, Global Health Specialist
  • Fanta Bojang - UCLH Cancer Collaborative
  • Dr Mahendra Patel, Yorkshire and Humberside

Survival rates for many cancers in the UK is still lower than in other comparably wealthy countries. This could be due to a combination of several factors including late presentation and  delayed diagnosis Early detection rates in London are variable with nearly 40% of clinical commissioning groups (CCG) having a lower than the national average survival rate. The uptake for screening services is also variable. As cancer is considered the cause of most avoidable deaths and primary care is the predominant patient contact point with the NHS, it is therefore essential to improve early detection and management of cancer survivorship at this level of care provision.  

A recent survey (n= 680) conducted by the Primary and Community Care Education Group (PCCEG) examined the cancer knowledge, practice and perceptions of primary care healthcare professionals (GPs, nurses, community pharmacists and dentists)in London 

The results of these surveys revealed gaps in knowledge of all HCP in both the areas of early diagnosis (ED) and living with and beyond cancer (LWBC). This translated into reduced activity in supporting patients in these areas, highlighting the need for training in ED and LWBC. With these overlapping needs, it might therefore be prudent to organise interprofessional (IPL) sessions to address knowledge gaps and to strengthen collaborations between primary care health professionals (Nabhani-Gebara et al, 2018–  ) 

We have recently piloted an IPL session on oral cancer with 35 participants (dental staff, pharmacy staff and general practice doctors and nurses). The speakers and the facilitators were pharmacists and dentists and the participants were divided into multi-professional groups to discuss and address various tasks  throughout the session. The feedback was positive whereby the interprofessional element was highly valued and allowed the participants to learn from each other. 

The results of the survey also showed that the educational sessions relating to cancer attended by the respondents were adhoc and opportunistic .   

A structured approach for learning is needed with a short course designed to address the knowledge gaps and allow time for reflection on practice. However, healthcare professionals in primary care have limited time for professional development and some –such as pharmacists- do not have protected learning time. Therefore, virtual learning environments can be used to facilitate this learning journey.   

Our aim is to use blended interprofessional learning to upskill healthcare professionals in primary care and to optimise their role in cancer. This combines online technology enhanced learning complemented with a few face to face training sessions needed to cement potential collaborations . 

An existing IPL online learning platform has been designed and developed by iheed which is a next generation medical education partner provider, built by health care professionals, for healthcare professionals. Their educational platforms –including one in cancer care-have been accredited, validated and well received by users. 


The objectives of #IPLCancer are 

  • To use an existing online platform to deliver an interprofessional blended  course for cancer care to primary healthcare professionals in London 

  • To adapt the content to address project objectives 

  • To organise at least two face to face inter professional sessions to allow participants to meet in person 

  • To design a group based capstone project that allows participants to work together towards designing a new service for primary cancer care.  

  • To evaluate the participant experience and level of interprofessional collaboration within  the short course 

How you can contribute

  • We are interested in receiving feedback from members that have taken this approach in different disease areas to understand how to make this successful.
  • We are also interested in developing further collaborations to work with us to make this successful.


  1. Hi  - just letting you know that at Prostate Cancer UK we provide a lot of face to face  and online  education around prostate cancer to a variety of health professionals. I'd be happy to put you in touch with our Education team at any stage if this would be useful to you

  2. Guest

    Hi Dimple, thank you for your comments. Completely agree that not all can suit one learning style and we do endeavor to encourage learning from all. We have seen this across the globe and have adapted the e-learning element to be truly interprofessional allowing for an exciting collaborative learning space. We have seen across the globe and via our research this really does tackle previous difficulties with varied learning styles.

  3. Guest

    Shereen Nabhani Gebara 2 years, 12 months ago

    Thank you for your comment and interest

    The proposed programme will be a combination of online and face to face inter professional learning which will allow us to deliver a comprehensive short course that enables the primary healthcare professionals to have the knowledge and confidence to be more engaged in cancer prevention, detection and support. For example, the iheed programmes are delivered over 8 weeks and have been completed by all participant healthcare professionals with a 92% pass rate. Our plan is to adapt this and deliver it over a longer period of time (up to 6-8 months ) to allow for the face to face sessions and the inter professional capstone project. Therefore, it will need time commitment from the participants but the majority of it will be flexible accessed from the comfort of their homes.

    Our face to face inter professional learning session on oral cancer was delivered by colleagues from secondary care (dentists and pharmacists). We are planning to carry on with this peer support model through the blended programme.

    This grant will allow us to pilot our proposed programme to a group of multi professional healthcare professionals from primary care in London. We will endeavour to have equal representations from all professions in each cohort.

  4. Hi Pinkie, thanks for sharing your idea!

    It's great to consider ways to upskill primary care clinicians in the areas you've identified and of course this can add great value to patients.


    What I'm wondering is how you'll tackle the issue you've raised regarding time? Carrying out e-learning can be time consuming too and doesn't suit all learning styles. I also wondered who this would be targeted at as I think you said the whole of London? Would there be a cap on who can access this? I also wondered if any learning events had taken place with secondary care colleagues to help share their experiences and learning with primary care (and vice versa).


    Thanks a lot and good luck


    Q Programme Manager

    1. Hi Dimple

      Thank you so much for taking the time to look at this idea.  Some preliminary work undertaken with a number of areas found that community colleagues would prefer structured online learning.  I think that as a group we should consider different learning styles as I know that some people really enjoy watching videos whereas some prefer activities and some can just read slides.

      Thanks again, we really appreciate this!

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