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Bite-size Case Study

Macmillan: learning through communities of practice

Published on July 31, 2017 Originally recorded 2009   5 min
0:04
Let's look at an organization that cultivates communities of practice and fosters long-term relationships. UK charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, is committed to improving the lives of people affected by cancer. It's best known for its 2,700 Macmillan nurses who give support and advice to people living with the disease. However, the charity also maintains close relationships with doctors including some 100 GPs. Macmillan GPs are general practitioners or family doctors with a particular interest in people with cancer. They work within the UK's National Health Service. And they receive funding or protected time from Macmillan, which typically gives them one day a week to spend on educating their peers and influencing cancer services in their region. In recent years, Macmillian has been exploring the value of working with GPs, not just as individuals, but also as members of a Macmillan GP community. What's more, Macmillan's work with GPs is strongly influenced by service users. In Macmillan's case, this means people who have cancer themselves and family and informal carers of cancer patients. The way that this works is that the charity supports the number of patients and carer groups, each of which focuses on a particular project or community. Macmillan enables both GPs and service users to meet and share their experiences so each community can develop its own collective voice. This gives the organization far greater influence than it would otherwise had as a voluntary organisation with just 700 employees.
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Macmillan: learning through communities of practice

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