Our Service Pledge is a programme dedicated to improving breast cancer services.

The Service Pledge brings patients, healthcare professionals and Cancer Alliances together to work in partnership to design and deliver a concrete action plan of improvements, for everybody’s experience of breast cancer.

We understand  the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will have a lasting impact on the NHS and the services it provides. The Service Pledge is vital in future-proofing breast care services and ensuring patient-centred improvements continue to be made.

In 2022/2023, the Service Pledge has been jointly sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company Limited and Roche Products Ltd. In 2023/24 the Service Pledge has been jointly sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. Lilly, Roche, and Novartis have not had any control or involvement in this programme.

Hear from patients and healthcare professionals about why they would recommend the Service Pledge.

Find out more about hospital improvements

How does it work?

Breast Cancer Now helps hospitals gather patient and staff feedback on their breast care service through surveys and focus groups.

The feedback gathered is discussed to find practical ways of making meaningful improvements. Through listening and learning from each other, patients and healthcare professionals work in a true partnership.


Breast Cancer Now draws on 20 years’ experience of improving breast cancer services across the country.

To date, over 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.

Find out where our recent Service Pledge hospitals are located using our interactive map.


How are patients involved?

The Service Pledge actively involves people with different perspectives of breast cancer, to develop a more complete understanding of the challenges and opportunities to improve treatment and care.

Patients can use their experience of breast cancer as an empowering way to help improve the services others will receive in the future.

Every person's experience of breast cancer is unique and each one matters.

To be able to input our voices and thoughts into the big NHS machine and see our ideas come to life was fantastic.

– Linda, patient representative

As well as working with local patients, Breast Cancer Now recruits Patient Advocates, who are trained volunteers with a personal experience of breast cancer.

They play a key role in the Service Pledge, helping to support patient involvement and provide an expert sounding board.

For me, becoming a Patient Advocate was about making a difference. I felt with my background and diagnosis of breast cancer I could speak up and represent others who might not themselves be able to do so.

Joan, patient advocate

How do we work with healthcare professionals?

Through the Service Pledge, healthcare professionals can share their experiences.

Combined with patients’ feedback, this provides a deep, broad understanding of how to improve the services teams provide and helps do the best for patients. 

I wanted to get involved in order to take ideas from our past patients to make the experience better for our patients in the future.

Karen, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Service Pledge lead

Breast Cancer Now provide support throughout the process – sharing expert insight, streamlining the process and keeping healthcare professionals motivated, so that services get as much out of it as possible.

How do we involve Cancer Alliances?

One of the main aims of Cancer Alliances is to drive local change in the quality of cancer services to improve cancer outcomes and patient experience.

The Service Pledge recognises that patient experience is as important as clinical effectiveness and safety. By continually improving services, Cancer Alliances can help more people with breast cancer to live and receive the support they need to live well.

By working with Cancer Alliances across the country, the Service Pledge makes sure that learnings and best practice are shared across teams, hospitals and regions, creating consistency in the standard of breast cancer care.

Hear from patients involved in our Service Pledge

Recent improvements made to breast services as a result of the Service Pledge 

Hospital staff and patients, with the support of Breast Cancer Now staff and volunteer Patient Advocates, work in partnership to develop improvements that make a real difference to patients receiving treatment and care for breast cancer in the future.

In 2019-21 hospitals across the East of England South Cancer Alliance took part in Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge programme and over 40 improvements were developed, below you can find out what improvements they plan to make. 

Milton Keynes University Hospital (PDF)
Southend University Hospital (PDF)
Basildon University Hospital (PDF)
New QEII Hospital and Lister Hospital (PDF)

In 2021-22 we worked with hospitals across the East of England North Cancer Alliance and hospital across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance on our Service Pledge programme. Nearly 200 improvements were developed across these hospitals and below you can find out what improvements each hospital is making.

East of England North Cancer Alliance

Colchester Hospital (PDF)
Ipswich Hospital (PDF)
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (PDF)
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (PDF)
Bedford Hospital (PDF)

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (PDF) 
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (PDF)
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (PDF)
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (PDF) 
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Royal Hallamshire Hospital (PDF) 
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Weston Park Cancer Centre (PDF)

Any questions?

To find out when we’re next recruiting for Patient Advocates, keep an eye out on this page or join our Breast Cancer Voices community - where you can find out about opportunities like this to use your voice and experiences to create change. If you’d like to find out more about the Service Pledge, please contact Catherine Wood, Head of Patient Experience, on 020 7960 3446 or email service.pledge@breastcancernow.org

Breast Cancer Voices

Company logos from Lilly, Roche, and Novartis

Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge 2022/2023 has been jointly sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company Limited and Roche Products Ltd. Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge 2023–2024 has been jointly sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. Lilly, Roche and Novartis have not had any control or involvement in this programme