Chief Executive delivers keynote speech at major national cancer conference

Posted 13th May 2022

Picture of Liz Bishop. She is smiling and is sitting in front of a bright yellow wall. Liz has shoulder length blonde hair with a fringe.

Dr Liz Bishop, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, has delivered the keynote speech at a major national cancer conference this week.

The HSJ National Cancer Forum, which took place in London on Thursday 12th May, had the theme of 'Building Back Better Post-Pandemic'. The event was attended by a large audience of cancer leaders from across the UK, including senior figures from the NHS and the chief executives of the main cancer charities.

In her speech, Liz talked about progress delivering the NHS Long Term Plan's ambitions for cancer care, both nationally and on a regional level within Cheshire & Merseyside. She described how the NHS plans to achieve faster, earlier diagnosis for people with cancer - and improve patient experience and clinical outcomes for people with cancer - as it completes recovery post-pandemic.

Liz highlighted some of the pioneering work taking place nationally and in Cheshire & Merseyside, including a suite of new and emerging tools such as the NHS Galleri trial, Cytosponge and colon capsule endoscopy. She also outlined how initiatives such as community diagnostic centres (such as Clatterbridge Diagnostics at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral), targeted lung health checks and the use of FIT (faecal immunochemical tests) are already helping the NHS care for people with suspected or confirmed cancer.

As Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance and SRO for Diagnostics in Cheshire & Merseyside, Liz also outlined the ways in which different NHS providers work in partnership to make sure patients have the tests and treatment they need as soon as possible. In endoscopy - one of the areas that has been hardest hit by the pandemic - they are using a productivity tool called Thrive to reduce patient waits by making sure that valuable endoscopy capacity across Cheshire & Merseyside is being used efficiently and effectively.

She was honest about the scale of the challenge that cancer services face across the UK and the impact on people with cancer, stressing the importance of continuing to do all we can to recover from the effects of the pandemic so that patients receive high-quality care and the best possible outcome.

And Liz explained how the new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool - which opened in June 2020 - has played a vital role in helping our region catch up on cancer care during and after COVID. It provided extensive additional capacity - including inpatient beds, chemotherapy/SACT treatment facilities, a new Clinical Decisions Unit, and more diagnostic facilities (e.g. MR and CT scanners) when it was needed most. This has enabled us to support colleagues in other hospitals and make sure people with cancer are cared for in a specialist cancer hospital instead of emergency departments and acute general hospitals, wherever possible.

Speaking after the event, Liz said: "It was a real pleasure to deliver the keynote speech at the HSJ National Cancer Forum in London. It was a great day with lots of interesting discussion and ideas so I was delighted to be able to share the enormous amount of hard work that is taking place in Cheshire & Merseyside to make sure the people who live here get the best possible cancer care as services recover from the impact of COVID."

Her keynote speech was followed by a Q&A session hosted by HSJ Editor Alastair McLellan. Later in the morning, Liz was also a panel member in a debate on NHS cancer care post-pandemic alongside Lynda Thomas (Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer), Roland Kreissig (General Manager, Oncology, UK & Ireland, Novartis), and Geoff Bellingan (Medical Director, Cancer & Surgery Board, UCLH).