Transformation Partners in Health and Care > Resources > Psychosocial Support > Pan-London project: the psychological impact of the cancer diagnostic pathway

Pan-London project: the psychological impact of the cancer diagnostic pathway

Background to the project

In 2021, North Central London Integrated Care Board (NCL ICB) identified the need to better understand the psychological harm experienced by patients on the cancer diagnostics pathway as a priority. The following year, they asked TCST to undertake a project in partnership with local experts who had lived experience of the cancer pathway and the cancer workforce across London.


Scope and methodology

A steering group was established to manage the project. The original scope focused on cancer waits and delays, factoring in psychological harm alongside clinical harm reviews to provide patients with the right support as quickly as possible.

However, following a scan of the literature and some early focus groups with psycho-oncologists, the steering group altered the scope to encompass all people from the point of urgent suspected cancer referral to the start of first treatment – with the aim of preventing distress and promoting adjustment as early as possible both for people on a faster diagnosis pathway and those on the diagnosis to first treatment pathway.

The project used a range of research methods to inform project development, including focus groups, a stakeholder workshop and survey and several engagement meetings with north central London and pan-London groups. This enabled the group to co-produce a set of overarching project principles (outlined on page 4 of the project report opposite) as well as a report of focus group findings, short terms priority actions for London and a high level action plan for 2023/26 (pages five and six of the project report).

Outcomes and Results

The final project report and recommendations were endorsed by the NCL Cancer Programme Board on 28 March 2023. These are detailed on page 18 of the project report.


The project was accepted for an oral presentation at the British Psycho-social Oncology Society’s 2023 Conference: Prevention, early detection and diagnosis. The team were also invited to present an seminar at the Oncology Professional Care Conference 2023.

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