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An introduction to IMPROVE UK

With £1million of funding from the Tampon Tax fund, we launched IMPROVE UK - a a groundbreaking programme to tackle health inequalities for women with ovarian cancer.

It is the first major programme to address inequalities and build an infrastructure to develop a legacy of best practice sharing up and down the country. 

Ultimately, this will improve survival rates and address inequalities in care for all women with ovarian cancer in the UK regardless of where they live, their age or ethnicity.


IMPROVE UK is the first-ever ovarian cancer quality improvement set of initiatives that represent multi-centre, cross-functional collaborations dedicated to advancing patient care through systems changes.

These pages on QI Central spotlight some of the many experts whose diverse perspectives and experiences shaped shared outcomes over three years of work – core project groups and steering committees providing clinical direction, clinical specialists and healthcare professionals standardising practices, genetic counsellors introducing testing, patient advisors ensuring lived experiences inform strategies, project and QI evaluation managers coordinating execution across seven Cancer Centre hubs taking part throughout the UK.

Featuring those doing the labour not only gives credit where due, but enables direct engagement between teams through investigation, collaborative meetings and future networking as we push progress forward together. We encourage others pursuing quality improvement to connect with these committed healthcare professionals who are willing to share knowledge.

Why do we need IMPROVE UK?

The best ovarian cancer survival rates in the UK match the highest in the world, and yet we currently have one of the poorest average 5yr survival rates in Europe.

The Ovarian Cancer Audit Feasibility Pilot had shone a spotlight on the inequalities faced by women with ovarian cancer based on where they live, their age and ethnicity.

IMPROVE UK is a series of 7 quality improvement projects aiming to improve ovarian cancer survival rates in the UK.

About the IMPROVE UK Pilot Awards 

Ovarian Cancer Action awarded funding for seven one-year improvement pilots that addressed the inequalities that ovarian cancer patients face across the secondary care pathway and aimed to ensure equal access to the best quality treatment and care.

IMPROVE UK Pilots needed to address one of the following inequality categories:

  1. A) Age – Pilots focussed on improving outcomes / patient experience for older women
  2. B) Minority Groups - Pilots focussed on improving outcomes / patient experience for minority groups (including and not restricted to BAME, LGBTQ+)
  3. C) Location – Pilots focussed on improving outcomes for women who live in areas of the UK with poorer outcomes

IMPROVE UK Pilots were required to have one of the following objectives:

A) Make changes to treatment pathways to target potential improved patient survival rates and/or improve access to specialised care


B) To improve patient experience and aim to ensure equal access to the best quality treatment and care

Key Stakeholders in Improve UK

Below we have listed our key stakeholders involved in the IMPROVE UK quality improvement projects. Please don’t hesitate to connect with any member listed here. It is through ongoing collaboration that we will elevate ovarian cancer care across the board.

Marie Claire Platt – Head of Policy & Research OCA

Lesley Woolnough – Health Equality and Improvement Programme Manager OCA

Helen Crisp – QI Lead Evaluation

Professor Sudha Sundar – Chair. Professor of Gynaecological Cancer at University of Birmingham

Professor Iain McNeish – VC. Director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre

Mr Andrew Phillips – Clinical Advisor to IMPROVE UK Programme Manager. Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist/lead Clinician for Cancer at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Rebecca Bowen – Medical Oncologist at Royal United Hospital Bath

Professor Mary Wells – Deputy Director of Nursing at Research Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Jo Nunn

Kimberley Ramsay

Natalie Pearce

Amanda Lane

Kerry Burridge

Peg Murphy

Maura McCardle

Mike Ryan – East Midlands Cancer Alliance

Christina Fotopoulou - Imperial

Dr Adrian Andreou - Marsden

Dr Angela George - Marsden

Professor Raji Ganesan -Birmingham

John Butler- Marsden

Phil Rolland - Gloucestershire

Ketan Gajjar - Nottingham

Madeline MacDonald - Sheffield

Mr Kenneth Lim - Cardiff

Mr Kevin Burton - Glasgow

Anna Murray – Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance

Dr Rosalind Glasspool - Glasgow

Dr Aggnieszka Michael - Surrey

Dr Rachel Jones - Swansea

Welsh Cancer Network - Abigail Hayward (NHS Wales Health Collaborative)

Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport - Tampon Tax Fund

Programme Lead – Sadie Pearce

Ovacome Ovarian Cancer Charity

British Gynaecological Cancer Society (BGCS)

Project Team Leads

Dr Mary Cairns -Lead Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Aberdeen

Mr Nidal Ghaoui Dit Ebef – Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Edinburgh

Catherine Lamberton – Gynaecology CNS

Elsa Armstrong – Data manager Gynaecology Aberdeen

Regional NCA co-ordinator and admins support in all 4 x centres

The project was a joint endeavor between the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW)

Mr Jonathan Frost – Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Bath

Dr Claire Newton – Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Bristol

Dr Lucy Dumas – Consultant Gynaecological Oncology Bath

Laura Davies – Patient Experience Manager Bath

Olu Kolade - Project Manager

The project was be led by Sadie Jones at the Cardiff centre but the programme was delivered at the three cancer centres (Cardiff, Bangor and Swansea) in Wales for the duration of the funding and led by local teams

Sadie Jones – Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist - Cardiff

Rosalind Jones – Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist Bangor

Courtney McMullen – Snr Clinical Research Fellow in Gynaecological Oncology Cardiff

Experienced clinical leads were identified at each of 7 participating sites and acted as co-applicants on the funding application.

Professor Richard Edmondson

Dr Kathryn Baxter

Dr Dominic Blake – Subspeciality Fellow in Gynaecological Oncology

Dr Stuart Rundle – Gynaecological Oncologist

Helen Manderville - CNS

Yvonne Anderson – CNS Macmillan

Dawn Hodgson – Cancer Prehabiliation Project Manager

Stephen Dobbs – Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist & President BGCS

Davinia Lee - Service Manager, Haematology & Cancer Services

Dr Elaine Leung – Honorary clinical research fellow Institute of Cancer and Genomics Sciences at University of Birmingham

Dr Gabriel Funingana – Clinical Research Fellow at Dept Medical Oncology Cambridge University Hospitals

Mr Janos Balega- Consultant Gynaecologist Oncologist Birmingham City Hospital

Professor James Brenton – Ovarian Cancer Medicine at Cancer Research UKs Cambridge Institute

Dr Marie-Lyne Alcaraz – Programme Manager CRUK Cambridge

Cambridge Patient Advisory Group

Mrs Lisa Bird – Patient Member Birmingham Univ.

If you are a patient, go to the Ovarian Cancer Action website