Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation

Vanguard Innovation’s pioneering online learning platform that supports GPs in detecting cancer symptoms has gone live across Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire.

Through the Gateway-C website,, family doctors can access a secure learning zone featuring interactive films and other resources and activities to help them identify the early signs of cancer.

Three courses have been launched to help improve the rates of early diagnosis of lung, bowel and pancreatic cancer and potentially save hundreds of lives every year. The courses offer the flexibility for GPs to complete bite-sized activities from their computer or smart mobile device at their convenience.

Cancer is becoming more common: one in two people can expect to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives and someone is diagnosed with cancer in Greater Manchester every 30 minutes. Cancer experts hope that Gateway-C will boost early diagnosis and so increase patients’ chances of survival.

Gateway-C courses have been tested with GP practices in Wigan and south Manchester and received very positive feedback. The Royal College of General Practitioners has also endorsed the courses which will now be made available to more than 500 surgeries in Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire.

Dr Catherine Heaven, Associate Director of The Christie School of Oncology, and Dr Sarah Taylor, Cancer Lead GP, have led the design with a great deal of consultation with other GPs, top cancer specialists and people affected by cancer.

Dr Heaven said: ‘This is a crucial area of work we need to focus on if we want to make sure patients are referred on for treatment at the right time and in the right manner.

‘We know that in Greater Manchester too many patients are diagnosed at a late stage, and we know if people get into the system earlier they will do much better. It can be very challenging for GPs to identify symptoms which could indicate cancer, and Gateway-C aims to support GPs in that area.’

Dr Liam Hosie, a GP from Wigan who took part in the Gateway-C pilot scheme, added: ‘I have spoken to a number of my GP partners who have also completed the learning modules, and they all agree that this has been one of the most useful educational experiences they have had, and there is evidence that the learning has already begun to change practice.’

The courses are primarily aimed at registered GPs and GPs in training but enrolment by others working in primary care will also be accepted. In the coming months the Gateway-C learning zone will be expanded to feature courses that support GPs in caring for patients with long-term complications and recurrence of cancer, as well as treating patients and supporting them and their loved ones at the end of their life.

The Gateway-C website has also been designed as the go-to place to find links to cancer resources, face-to-face training opportunities and organisations that offer support to those living with cancer in Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire. Organisations are also encouraged to publish their own activities using online forms.

This project saw The Christie School of Oncology collaborate with Cancer Research UK, the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Network and Macmillan.

You can view a short film about Gateway-C here.

Visit the Gateway-C website here.

Our picture shows Saeed Shakibai and Sue Coggins, people affected by cancer, at the launch of Gateway-C