The Service Pledge programme has been running since 2003 and helps breast cancer services across the country involve patients and staff in reviewing services and implementing patient-centred improvements.

So far, the Service Pledge has helped improve experiences for over 30,000 patients at more than 80 hospitals across the UK.

How does it work?

Hospitals gather patient and staff feedback on their breast care service through surveys and workshops. We then help hospital staff and patients discuss the feedback and agree improvements for their service.

Changes so far include:

  • Recruiting extra consultants to increase the number of breast clinics a hospital runs
  • Providing tailored information for men with breast cancer
  • Setting up a patient buddy system

Patient Advocates, who are trained volunteers that have a personal experience of breast cancer, play a key role in the Service Pledge. They attend patient workshops to understand local patient concerns and suggestions for improvements, work with hospital staff to support discussions around patient and staff feedback, and help identify suitable improvements.

Read our blogs

If you would like to read more about how patients are helping us improve services, take a look at our guest blogs:

Read Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist Karen Ives-Smith’s blog on her experiences as Pledge Lead

Long-time supporter Karen Gannon shares her experience of being a Patient Advocate

Patient Advocate Anna Sarphie shares her experience of working with Breast Cancer Now and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals

Read how Patient Representative Flora Sheringham has been working with the Service Pledge to improve services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital


I have found being involved on the project both interesting, and I hope useful for future treatment procedures. My experience at Ipswich Hospital overall was very good and I was treated both promptly and professionally, but I appreciated this may not be the case for everyone. It has been helpful to feel that my experiences were considered important enough to be discussed, and reassuring to know that I was not the only one with perhaps a particular problem. It kept me focussed and feeling of use while recovering.

Joan Thomason, Patient Representative at Ipswich Hospital, 2015

For more information

If you’d like to find out more about the Service Pledge, please contact Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager, on 020 7025 0082 or email service.pledge@breastcancernow.org