In a bid to help deliver the NHS cancer plan, the Department of Health has teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Relief under a three-year partnership to place cancer lead clinicians at every primary care organisation. So far, 279 have been nominated.

They will help spearhead the expansion of primary care, with strategic leadership and the development of cancer care networks.

The Macmillan support programme will offer individual and group learning programmes, a telephone helpline and dedicated website.

Dame Gill Oliver, Macmillan's director of service development, said: 'It will provide a baseline to ensure consistency.'

Dr Philip Hartropp, cancer lead at South Peterborough primary care trust, said: 'Teamwork is essential. We need to be sharing information so if there are any problems in cancer services that are generalised, we can come together, identify these and ensure the cancer network knows about it.'