Janet Tonge


Prior to commencing doctorate study, Janet was the Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP) Programme Director from 2013-2018.  I led the programme and was responsible for developing cancer service improvements and innovation pilots across the health and care landscape in Manchester.  The programme included:

  • A UK first lung health check pilot programme 
  • Cancer standards for primary care practices
  • An award-winning integrated community-based palliative care service
  • A revised pathway or primary breast cancer follow up
  • Training packages on cancer for non-specialists in the health and care workforce.

The programme won several awards including for User Involvement and was a finalist in the Health Service Journal awards for its improvement work. 

Previous roles include: Community Networks Director, NHS East Lancashire - responsible for building public health partnerships and joint commissioning programmes across East Lancashire and as Director of Regeneration and Communities, DCLG, Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber  - responsible for stronger communities and regeneration policy implementation and programme oversight in the region.  My experience also includes strategic development, programme development and public and patient engagement focussed roles in the NHS and local government. 

Janet is a member of the NIHR's INVOLVE Advisory Group and provide consultancy advice on programme set up, development and implementation as well as stakeholder facilitation, mentoring and advisory work.

Janet has a Public Health background with particular expertise and interest in community development and engaging the public and patients in health care and wider public sector service improvement. 

Research interests

Since the National Lung Screening Trial in the United States reported a 20% lung cancer and 6.7% all age all cause mortality reduction following annual screening with Low Dose CT scans compared to Chest X-rays in high-risk ever-smokers, there has been increasing interest in developing UK lung screening programmes.  This led to the development of the Manchester Lung Health Check Programme. As Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership Programme Director, I led this development in conjunction with Manchester University Foundation Trust and was Principal Investigator for its qualitative research elements.  This included exploring the barriers and facilitators to uptake with high risk ever smokers and using the results to feed into the development of the service model and its patient facing information materials. 

The Manchester Lung Health pilot programme used a community based one-stop shop model to make it easy for smokers and ex-smokers living often in deprived areas to access the facility and reduce fear barriers.  The pilot:

  • quadrupled the rate of cancers diagnosed at an early stage
  • found 1 lung cancer for every 23 people scanned
  • was able to offer curative intent treatment to 89% people diagnosed with lung cancer.

Current smokers, people from deprived areas and women have been reported as participating in lung screening less than others.  Evidence also suggests that many lung screening invitees may not understand enough about a lung screening offer to make an informed participation choice.  Lung cancer screening decision support tools have been developed in the United States, often for use in a shared decision making context, but their impact is currently unclear.  Targeted lung screening is now developing in the UK, using a ‘lung health check’ format.  However, there is no clear communication guidance or established decision support tools for the UK lung health check and limited research about how UK eligible populations decide about lung health check partcipation.  Janet's applied health doctorate study therefore aims to :

  • explore participation decision making in lung cancer screening with smokers and ex-smokers including their information needs and preferences
  • review existing lung screening informational and decision support materials
  • co-design decision support materials with health care professionals and ever-smokers
  • test the co-designed materials for their acceptability, feasibility and impact on informed decision making and screening uptake.


  • Master in Public Health (Distinction), University of Leeds
  • Master of Arts (Oxon), University of Oxford
  • Post Graduate Certificate, Public Sector Management, University of Birmingham
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Geography, University of Oxford
  • Professional qualifications in Community Work, Programme, Project and Change Management