Optimal Pathway Groups

The main purpose of the Optimal Pathway Groups (OPGs) and Clinical Advisory Board is to drive improvement in outcomes, patient experience and operational performance across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. The Optimal Pathway Groups bring together all relevant stakeholders, from clinicians, managers, commissioners, primary care, patient representatives, and voluntary sector colleagues, to ensure a holistic approach to improvement.

OPG website image 1.jpg

Through effective partnership working, the OPGs aim to ensure co-ordination and reduce unwarranted variation in outcomes - from prevention, to diagnosis and treatment, to living with & beyond cancer.

They work to identify and deliver consistency of clinical practice to achieve the best possible outcomes and experience for patients living with and beyond cancer in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, irrespective of where they live and where their treatment and care is provided.                                    

Cancer Alliances are leading on the implementation of national timed optimal pathways which were produced in 2018 for lung, prostate and colorectal cancers and in 2019 for oesophago-gastric cancers.

The publication of gynaecology and head and neck optimal timed pathways are expected to be published in early 2022.

The timed optimal pathways set out how diagnosis within 28 days can be achieved. Achieving a diagnosis within 28 days is further reinforced by the introduction of the Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) in April 2020. The FDS measures how long it takes for a patient to receive a diagnosis or an all clear for cancer, aiming to do so within 28 days of referral. The FDS will reduce anxiety for patients, speed up time from referral to diagnosis, and reduce variation in patient experience by helping the NHS to pinpoint where it needs to speed up the process. Performance management against the standard started in April 2020.

The Clinical Advisory Board provides expert clinical oversight, challenge and scrutiny, supporting the Cancer Alliance Board in discharging its role and functions as system leader for cancer in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. 

The OPGs act as the main source of expert clinical opinion on cancers and provide advice to relevant Boards & West Yorkshire and Harrogate partners. Their functions include, but are not restricted to:

  • Identifying and raising awareness of population needs, reviewing clinical outcome and performance data, identifying and addressing unwarranted variation
  • Service monitoring - clinical performance and clinical outcomes
  • Driving innovation, improvement and collaboration to share and spread the adoption of good practice
  • Maintaining updated guidelines 
  • Workforce development and capacity planning
  • Research, education, and development
  • Patient experience and co-production

There are currently 10 tumour site specific Optimal Pathway Groups. Each group is led by a Clinical Director and Vice Chair and has an agreed work programme. More information about the Clinical Directors and Vice Chairs is available here.

Click the links below to view details:

Breast                                                    Colorectal

Gynaecology                                           Haematology

Head and Neck                                       Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary(HPB)       

Lung                                                      Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI)             

Urology (incl bladder, renal and prostate)  Skin 

man in blue dress shirt and black framed eyeglasses

Programme management oversight for the OPGs resides with Ingrid Ablett-Spence, Cancer Alliance Optimal Pathways Programme Manager. Email i.ablett-spence@nhs.net

More information about the OPG Team is available here

The schedule of forthcoming OPG meetings - attendance by invitation only - can be found here. Please check with the relevant OPG lead, as the schedule is subject to change.       

For all general enquiries or information relating to the Optimal Pathway Groups, please contact optimal.pathways@nhs.net or call 07881 359133.


A Clinical Director vacancy is available for the Skin OPG. If you are interested and would like to view the Clinical Director Role Description and Expression of Interest forms, please click here