The SDO Programme wishes to commission two interrelated research
projects in this field: the projects combine both primary and secondary
CA1: ‘Assessment of interrelationships
measures of the quality of cancer services.’
CA2 : ‘Prostate cancer care: improving measures of the patient
This brief describes CA2 .
Project CA2: involves development of tools to measure patient experience in
prostate cancer care.
The aim of the project is to derive robust and reliable measures of patient
experience in prostate cancer care which can be used in routine practice to
compare performance, to assess the impact of innovations and to direct
resources more appropriately. Some 1500 cancer service teams are active in
England, around 600 of which have quality improvement initiatives, linked to
the Cancer Services Collaboratives (CSCs).
There have been a number of recent surveys and assessments of cancer
care. From these surveys it is evident that the quality of cancer care varies
considerably across England and Wales.
Some of the quality improvement initiatives, linked to the Cancer Services
Collaboratives (CSCs) are directed at prostate cancer services, where there is
a general perception that the scope for quality improvement is wide. Together
with the Modernisation Agency and the National Cancer Director, we therefore
wish to commission work on the patient experience in prostate cancer care.
A challenge that teams encounter when implementing service improvements
through a CSC, is the lack of robust but easy to use tools to measure change
in patient experience. The recent National Cancer Patient Survey (NCPS)
included around 8000 patients with prostate cancer and has provided the
benchmark against which quality improvement policy can be judged in the
coming years at a national level. However, local services also need tools that
can be used in local contexts to provide more immediate feedback about
service improvement initiatives, and which can then be used to influence
further change.
The NCPS questionnaire could provide the basis of a simple tool to measure
patient experience, to undertake evaluation of a local change in service
provision e.g. a before- and after- evaluation of a new service. However
further work will be required first to:
1. establish contextual information from CSCs as to how such tools might be
used and exactly why they are needed.
2. review the NCPS questionnaire content to ensure that it covers all relevant
dimensions of patient experience, including for example, the hospital
3. reduce the number of questions to an irreducible ‘core’
4. test the tool’s reliability, validity and sensitivity to change
5. compare it to any existing quality measurement tools based on patient
6. implement, and then test its ease of use, in local service settings, based
on the principle that the tool should be usable and produce meaningful
findings without researcher support
7. develop an easy-to-use analysis package, based on readily available
software, for use in local settings but with the potential for aggregation at
national level.
Generalisability to other cancers or to areas other than cancer care should be
considered as also should scope for developing more detailed modules to
evaluate specific domains of care (for example, privacy, information giving).
The NCPS questionnaire was originally designed and implemented by the
National Centre for Social Research. It is expected that the successful team
would need to work closely with this centre in developing the quality
improvement measurement tool.
Outline proposals for research funding for project CA2 should be submitted. A
short review of current evidence should be included where applicable.
Proposals should clearly demonstrate that the research will add to knowledge
and that the proposed research has not already been or is not already being
Applicants should demonstrate how they will undertake the proposed
research. Methods, (including both qualitative and quantitative methods
where appropriate) should be described. Proposed outputs should be listed.
Applicants will also be expected to demonstrate that they are able to draw on
a broad range of both evidence and theory. Applicants should be able to
demonstrate a broad awareness of international research as well as UKbased research in this field. Relevance to the NHS should be made explicit.
Applicants will also need to demonstrate clear conceptual frameworks to
consider the issues relating to measurement of the patient experience in
health care.
We anticipate that the work will be of a multidisciplinary nature and may
incorporate both quantitative and qualitative research. Applicants should
demonstrate that their team covers the necessary skills and range of
disciplines including psychometric skills, understanding of the patient
experience and of quality of life issues in cancer care and of their
measurement as well as experience of software development.
Applicants should familiarise themselves with relevant research already
commissioned by SDO and by other NHS R&D programmes (such as the
Policy Research Programme and the Health Technology Assessment
Programme) and the relevant work of the Modernisation Agency to ensure
that they can demonstrate that their proposals do not duplicate other
Applicants should refer to the general criteria for prioritising research topics,
developed and agreed by the SDO programme board, available on the SDO
website (
Proposals should demonstrate awareness that the principal final product of
the research will be a detailed report that should:
• critically describe the background and available literature in relation to the
topic and provide a rigorous and detailed analysis and conclusions of
what is currently known about the topic area and of the strength of the
evidence on which this is based
• critically describe the methods used in the research
• provide a rigorous analysis of the data gathered
• draw justifiable conclusions
• describe robust measures of the patient experience in prostate cancer
• identify areas for further research and how they might be addressed. This
could include reviews of the literature and/or primary research
• locate the findings in the current policy and practice context within the
Successful applicants will be asked to make a short oral presentation of their
completed research to the SDO Programme Board. In addition, successful
teams are expected to report on progress at annual intervals to the SDO
programme and as required to the National Cancer Director and the Cancer
Portfolio Director. We also anticipate that there might be informal discussions
with NCCSDO during the research to clarify issues as they arise.
Research outputs will need to be presented both in an academic format and in
a format that will be helpful to end-users, particularly those with responsibility
for improving the patient experience in cancer care. One of the key audiences
for the work will be those working in the NHS for example with direct clinical
and clinical governance responsibilities.
Guidance Notes for submitting an outline proposal
Outline proposals should cover no more than four pages. They should
identify the proposed research team and describe the location and context of
the proposed study. They should include a description of the methods to be
used, and the intended outputs of the research. They should also include
arrangements for project management, such as an advisory board and user
input. Applicants should clearly outline their plans for the dissemination of
their findings.
In addition, applicants should indicate how they will:
ensure that their team includes researchers whose knowledge and skills
are sufficiently broad to deal with the variety of topic areas and
methodologies which will need to be considered.
ensure the relevance of the research to bodies at national and local level
which have an interest in the topic, both within and outside the health and
social care sectors.
demonstrate the involvement of users and other relevant stakeholders at
each stage of the proposed research project;
build in an active programme for disseminating the results, and discussing
them with those who plan, manage and deliver services.
Application process
The process of commissioning the study will be in two stages and applicants
should submit outline proposals. One proposal for project CA2 will be
selected. An organisation may submit proposals for both CA1 and CA2
projects if they wish.
Applicants must submit proposals using the A4 Outline Proposal application
form, which is available as a Word 97 file or Rich text format from:
the SDO website:, or
by Email from: [email protected]
Please do not use any previously obtained version of an SDO
Programme application form.
Applicants are asked to submit proposals by Wednesday 25th June 2003 at
1pm to:
Mr Damian O’Boyle
Commissioning Manager
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
99 Gower Street
TWENTY-FIVE HARD COPIES of the completed A4 Outline Proposal
application form should be submitted together with a copy on disk or CD.
Please note we will not accept electronic submissions or hand written
proposals. No late applications will be considered.
Guidance notes for the completion of the Outline Proposal application form
can be found at the front of the application form.
Funding of up to £350,000 is available for funding one project in this topic
area. Applicants should note that value for money is an important
consideration in respect of this research. Proposed costs of the project
should not exceed the limits stated above.
Following submission of outline proposals successful applicants will be
notified no later than the end of July 2003. They will then be invited to submit
full proposal by late September 2003. The outcome of the review of full
proposals will be notified by late November 2003. The project should take no
longer than three years to complete and start no later than December 2003.
Please note that these dates are approximate and may be subject to change.
In addition, applicants should indicate how they will work with the SDO
Programme and relevant stakeholders to build in an active program for
disseminating their research findings in policy, practice and research contexts.
Please clearly label the outside of the envelope in which you submit your
proposal with the following: ‘Tender Documents’. This will enable us to
identify proposals and keep them aside so that they may all be opened
together after the closing date and time.
Teams should ensure that their proposal complies with the Research
Governance Framework, which can be found on the Department of Health
website, or via a link on the SDO website under the ‘Call for Proposals’ page.
Before funding, successful teams will be required to provide proof of
research ethics committee approval for their project, if this is required
(information regarding this can be found on the SDO website under the
‘Calls for Proposals’ page).
We anticipate that there will be informal discussions with NCCSDO
throughout the duration of the project regarding the final report.
Applicants should visit the SDO website: to
familiarise themselves with the work of the SDO Programme in general and
with previous scoping exercises in other topic areas.
This document was published by the National Coordinating Centre for the
Service Delivery and Organisation (NCCSDO) research programme, managed
by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The management of the Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) programme
has now transferred to the National Institute for Health Research Evaluations,
Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) based at the University of
Southampton. Prior to April 2009, NETSCC had no involvement in the
commissioning or production of this document and therefore we may not be able
to comment on the background or technical detail of this document. Should you
have any queries please contact [email protected]