Tenovus Cancer Care (TCC) is one of several charities in Wales providing support to those affected by cancer. However, demand for cancer services is increasing, resources for charitable activity are increasingly limited and charitable donations are declining.
The Covid pandemic has also had a significant impact on cancer care and the third sector, which has further increase demand for services, at a time when most charities are already reduced in size and scope. Organisations such as TCC therefore need to evaluate their core activity, including how the needs of people who use and/or support their services are met, in order to provide an effective, efficient, sustainable service and, where possible, avoid unnecessary duplication.
The aim of this study was to explore key stakeholders’ perceptions of the focus, impact and efficacy of existing TCC services and to identify its unique place within cancer care in Wales.
The research was subsequently undertaken using a mixed methods, sequential approach, which incorporated several related stages and included the following phases: A literature scoping exercise, which included a review of relevant published and unpublished literature relating to cancer care in the NHS and the third sector; Stakeholder analysis and horizon scanning activity, which incorporated identification and engagement with key cancer care stakeholders in Wales (e.g. service users, healthcare professionals and supporters of TCC) to explore areas of existing TCC activity and priorities for future service provision; An all-Wales survey, which was developed following the scoping exercise, administered online and was designed to explore stakeholder perceptions of TCC’s activity and future service priorities; Semi-structured interviews with a small number of pertinent Welsh cancer care stakeholders to further explore perceptions of existing and future, related TCC services; And an evaluation of the approach and methods used to conduct the research, to establish if they were appropriate for this and/or future, related evaluations.
TCC was well evaluated and largely regarded to be a Welsh charity with an important community presence. The Sing with Us choirs, mobile units, patient and carer support services and association with funding novel, high quality research were highlighted as unique, key strengths. However, there was some confusion about TCC’s main focus and/or unique contribution to cancer care in Wales. In particular, there were concerns that TCC’s strategic aims were too broad and nebulous and that too many disparate services were provided, with areas of overlap with other organisations.
Ongoing engagement with relevant stakeholders is therefore needed to help identify unmet needs and better inform strategic decision making regarding existing and/or future TCC services. It is perhaps also prudent to consider the potential for greater collaboration and/or strategic alliances with other relevant third sector organisations, to maximise reach and impact of core activity, reduce unnecessary duplication and facilitate longer term sustainability. The study design and methods used (notably the all Wales questionnaire and interview schedules) to conduct the study were found to be appropriate and therefore offers potential for future, related evaluations.