Cancer patient laughing

Evaluating the success of pioneering Prehab4Cancer programme

Prehab4Cancer (P4C) launched a pioneering prehabilitation and recovery programme for cancer patients in Greater Manchester. The service uses a new community leisure centre-based approach. We were asked to carry out the important task of independently evaluating this ground-breaking initiative to confirm the recurrent funding needed.

The evaluation established the impact P4C had on patient outcomes as well as on pathway and service efficiencies.


Prehab4Cancer is the first UK system-wide, multi-modal prehabilitation and recovery programme for cancer patients. It was designed to improve postoperative outcomes for patients across Greater Manchester (GM). It was used to support patients following colorectal, lung and oesophago-gastric cancer surgery. Delivered by GM Health and Social Care system the programme offered a community leisure centre-based model in partnership with GM Active.

GM Cancer required an independent evaluation to confirm and underpin the recurrent funding decision for service delivery. The evaluation needed to establish the impact P4C had on patient outcomes, in addition to pathway and service efficiencies.


We provided:

  • Programme evaluation using a value-based healthcare approach looking at patient outcomes and the impact on resources
  • A bespoke dashboard that can be used by P4C and other similar prehab programmes for future service improvement
  • The evidence for systems to develop viable business cases to enable the wider integration of prehab and rehab into established clinical pathways


Our evaluation showed that the P4C programme demonstrated a range of benefits to patients, providers, and the GM system.

GM Prehab4Cancer Evaluation Report Final (003)

Patients experienced fewer post-operative complications and appeared to have a faster recovery back to health. The patient-reported outcome measures data showed significant improvements in physical function measured by the 6-minute walk test and frailty, WHODAS, IPAQ and EQ5D scores.

Headline results for colorectal cancer patients include:

  • 1.5-day reduction in hospital length of stay per prehab patient
  • 0.4-day reduction in critical care length of stay per prehab patient

For providers this ‘released’ 550 ward bed days and 146 critical care bed days, resulting in an increased capacity that improves patient flow. This contributes significantly to elective care recovery and attainment of cancer performance standards. Bed days ‘released’ from 1000 colorectal prehab patients enables 179 additional patients to access timely surgical pathways.

The release of critical care beds supported both the immediate and longer-term need for GM in continuing to support a considerable number of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The study showed that prehab appears to have an additional positive effect on patient survival at one-year post-surgery.

The dashboard enables audit into all areas of the programme to develop the service, adopting a continuous quality improvement methodology, ensuring equity of access and best use of resources.

Having carried out our independent evaluation, the report and its conclusions will provide defining insight. This will be useful not just for GM but also for other systems that have developed or are considering prehab interventions for cancer and non-cancer patients.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with SCW on an independent evaluation of our transformational Prehab4Cancer and recovery programme. The team have all shown the highest levels of professionalism, delivering a comprehensive, objective evaluation report within the timescales agreed. They have been flexible and willing to adapt to meet the emerging requirements of our evaluation and needs of our local integrated care system and cancer alliance. We are extremely proud of our system-wide prehab service and grateful to now have this high-quality, objective evaluation report to share with internal and external stakeholders. I would wholeheartedly recommend working with the SCW team to other NHS project teams - Zoe Merchant MSc MRCOT (Specialist Occupational Therapist) Prehab4Cancer and recovery programme AHP Clinical Lead 

To find out more, contact SCW's cancer team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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