Published on: 25 October 2023

Five Hospital Trusts across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire have launched a range of improvements to their breast cancer services.

Staff and patients from hospitals in Barnsley, Chesterfield, Doncaster and Bassetlaw, Rotherham and Sheffield have worked alongside leading charity Breast Cancer Now as part of the charity’s innovative Service Pledge programme.

What is the Service Pledge programme?

Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge – jointly sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company Ltd and Pfizer Ltd (2021-2022) - is dedicated to improving breast cancer services by bringing together patients, healthcare professionals and Cancer Alliances to work collaboratively.

For 20 years the Service Pledge programme has been delivering lasting positive change to transform the experience of thousands of people with breast cancer and now has a crucial role to play in future-proofing breast cancer services in the wake of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What work has been done so far?

Since signing up to the initiative in April 2022, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance gathered feedback from nearly one thousand primary and incurable secondary breast cancer patients on their experiences and what matters most to them, as part of a review of its current services.

Through questionnaires and workshops over the past 15 months a range of service improvements have been identified and committed to by the hospitals including, updating photo resources of surgical options to help patients make an informed decision; recruiting additional staff to ensure patients get the right information and support for them and improving the provision of information for patients in the waiting room.

Improvement plans for each hospital have now been created and will be rolled out over the next 18 months, published at

Julia Dicks, Consultant Breast Surgeon and Clinical Director for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance, said: “It is a priority to us that we listen to patient feedback and use that insight to transform and improve services and experiences for our patients.

The Service Pledge has allowed us to do this on a greater level. We are really pleased that by working collaboratively with patients, health care professionals and Breast Cancer Now, we have been able to identify key service improvements. These improvements will increase the quality of experience for patients with breast cancer and their loved ones and carers.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “We’re delighted that hospitals across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw have pledged to achieve the very best standards of care for patients with breast cancer.

“It’s wonderful that by supporting patients and healthcare professionals to work collaboratively to discuss experiences and address feedback, our Service Pledge programme has helped deliver improvements to breast cancer services at these hospitals.

“I am confident that the patient-led service improvements that have already been delivered as a result of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance signing up to our Service Pledge will make a big difference to breast cancer patients, their loved ones and hospital staff.”

Since the Service Pledge launched in 2003, more than 140 breast services across the UK have worked with patients to develop their local Service Pledge, delivering over 400 improvements for primary and secondary breast cancer patients in the past five years.​​​​​​