Meet the Cancer Alliance team

Senior Management Team and Workstream Leads


Dr Damian Riley - Chair of the Cancer Alliance

Dr Damian Riley has been a doctor for over 30 years. After working in several hospitals in the North West he then trained as a General Practitioner. Damian has worked extensively in both primary care and secondary care settings, as well as in the fields of education, quality improvement and clinical service strategic development. Damian has been Executive Medical Director of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust since 2015. In this role he is the Trust’s lead for professional standards, medical education, quality and clinical strategy.

Before joining the Trust, Damian was the North of England Regional Medical Director for NHS England where he led a number of service reviews and quality improvement initiatives across the North of England. In his medical director roles in Yorkshire, he led in a number of areas including extending access to general practice, leading service redesign programme for diabetes care in Leeds, and he was the clinical lead during the establishment of NHS 111 services in Yorkshire and Humber.

Currently Damian is also the Chair of the Cancer Alliance for Lancashire; an alliance of all the organisations providing cancer care for a population of over 1.2Million people in Lancashire and South Cumbria.


Denis Gizzi

Denis has worked in the NHS for 28 years, ten of those years at executive level, across areas such as commissioning, transformation, service redesign and improvement, clinical service management, performance and planning’, and commercial transformation.

He recently took up the appointment to the role of Chief Officer for Chorley and South Ribble CCG and Greater Preston CCG. Denis is also a seasoned healthcare executive coaching leader, having worked with executive level clients within public and commercial sectors for several years.


Neil Smith - Primary Care Lead

Neil has been a GP in Blackburn for over 20 years. He has always had a portfolio career and was previously Associate Dean at Manchester Medical School. He is currently a partner in a busy practice, a GP appraiser and trainer as well as stadium doctor for Blackburn Rovers. He has cancer roles for CCGs, Cancer Alliance, CRUK, RCGP and UCLan.

In 2015, he won the National Macmillan Excellence in Innovation Award for Cancer. In 2016 he and the team he leads won the HSJ National Patient Safety Award for Cancer. Neil was RCGP NW GP of the year in 2017 and was nominated as a local health hero for the NHS 70 awards 2018.

Outside work he coaches a youth football team. He is a keen swimmer, cyclist and runner and is the current and four time NHS senior triathlon champion.

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Jane Cass - Locality Director and Director of Assurance, Delivery and Performance for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria​

Jane has worked in the NHS for 21 years; predominantly within Public Health. This has included commissioning and providing services, service redesign with a focus on improving health and reducing health inequalities.

Jane spent almost 2 years within Public Health England as Deputy Director lead for Healthcare Public Health before taking a senior role back in NHS England as Locality Director and Director of Assurance, Delivery and Performance for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System. Jane’s attention is on improving the delivery and performance of services to positively affect the outcomes for patients.


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Jane McNicholas - Medical Director

Jane McNicolas has been a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at East Lancashire NHS Trust for 9 years where she is the Clinical Lead for Breast Services.

Jane is the Director to the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance and Associate Medical Director for Service Transformation at East Lancashire NHS Trust.

Core Cancer Alliance Team


Scott Alker - Workstream Lead (LWBC)

Scott currently works as the Living With and Beyond Cancer workstream lead for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance. Scott is accountable for the delivery of several projects working to improve patient outcomes and improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Scott was recently involved in developing a successful bid which awarded Lancashire and South Cumbria £1.2 million in cancer transformation funds, to improve services for people living with and beyond cancer. Scott will be working throughout 2018/19 to support the move towards self-managed cancer treatment follow up in breast, colorectal and prostate and continuing the work towards achieving the recommendations in the national cancer strategy.

Scott has previously worked in primary care and the third sector supporting unpaid Carers in a community setting for both the local authority and a national charity. Scott holds qualifications in Health and Social Care, Project Management and is currently undertaking a qualification in Healthcare Leadership and Management.

In his spare time Scott enjoys amateur dramatics, often appearing on stage in his local area. Scott enjoys walks at the beach with his Labrador and eating out to offset the additional exercise!



Anne Turner - Project Support Officer

Anne joined the Cancer Alliance team in May 2018 on a year’s secondment from Lancashire Teaching Hospital where she practiced as a senior therapeutic radiographer for over 10 years.

Prior to this she built up considerable experience working in a variety of business and marketing roles where she delivered some substantial rebranding projects.

She is delighted to have been given the opportunity to combine her core skills as Project Support Officer to the Living With and Beyond Cancer work stream.

When not at work she enjoys cycling, skiing, playing tennis and practicing yoga.


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Lisa Flanagan - Project Manager, redesigning cancer pathways

Lisa currently works as a project manager redesigning cancer pathways for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance. Lisa is responsible for the planning, delivery and implementation of redesigned pathways (Lung and Prostate) to improve earlier diagnosis of cancer. Standardising care from referral to first treatment working towards improving patient outcomes for patients on a 62 day pathway.

Lisa joined the NHS in 2002, and over the last 16 years has worked on a variety of roles within secondary care delivering change scale projects. She has a passion for service transformation and enjoys the challenge of working with clinical teams to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and to bring about improvements for patients.

Prior to joining the NHS, has acquired a wealth of experience in varied roles from leisure industry through to media/publishing - she was employed by News International Plc dedicated to working on the Sunday Times newspaper.

She often spends her weekends walking in the Lakes or in the countryside where she lives. She is also the Chair of her local village garden/scarecrow festival. 



Susan Booth - NSSG Administrator

Susan joins us from her previous role in Primary Care NHS England working with the Pharmacy and Dental team.

Prior to this role she worked as part of the management team for the Preston Primary Care Centre (Out of Hours GP provider) for over 25 years. During this time she developed numerous skills and enjoyed the diversity of working with clinical and non clinical staff and patients.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


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Claire Ainsworth - Data Information Analyst

Claire joined the Cancer Alliance team as Data Information Analyst in August 2018. Previous to that she worked in the Assurance and Delivery Team as a Project Support Officer for 18 months.

Prior to joining NHS England Claire worked as a Senior Manager in Royal Mail, covering a number of roles from Quality and Governance to providing data analyses on pipeline performance.

Claire is enjoying the challenge within a new organisation and is able to being her skills of project management and data informatics to the Data information Analyst role in the Cancer Alliance Team.

Outside of work Claire enjoys cycling, and walking and is planning to cycle the Hebridean Way this summer with a group of friends.


Janette Lewis-Ryan, Quality Improvement Lead

Janette commenced working for the NHS in May 2011 for the South West Strategic Health Authority to support EPRR for the 2012 Olympics. In April 2013 she moved to NHS England South Regional team where she has worked across a number of programmes including Elective Care, Urgent and Emergency Care and Cancer. Latterly Janette was the NHS England (South) Cancer Delivery Manager supporting the 6 Cancer Alliances across the South of England.

In August 2019 Janette moved back to Lancashire and joined Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance as Quality Improvement Lead to support NSSGs, RDCs and MDT streamlining.

Outside of work Janette enjoys walking, cooking and spending time with her family and Jack Russell dog. Now she has moved back to Lancashire she is looking forward to ticking off her list of Wainwright walks.




Margaret Nightingale - PA to the Cancer Alliance

Margaret's main role is to provide administrative business support for the team.

Prior to joining the Cancer Alliance, Margaret had worked with Lancashire County Council for 32 years as a Special Educational Needs and Disability Caseworker.

Outside of work Margaret enjoys spending time with her two sons and her dog Mila



Anne Tomlinson - Lead Nurse 

Anne has been a nurse for 24 years and is currently lead nurse for the Cancer Alliance and has been lead cancer nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2015. She trained as a nurse in Central Manchester and has spent a good part of her career in Manchester working in mainly gynaecological cancer services. She has worked jointly for the NHS and the University of Manchester working on research trials and was involved in trials of the HPV vaccine. She has also worked as an advanced practitioner and as a Macmillan Cancer Nurse Specialist. She has an MSc in cancer studies and cancer has always been her focus. She is very passionate about improving experiences for people with cancer.

Andrea Doherty

Andrea Doherty, Cancer Workforce Lead

Andrea qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1987 in Blackpool and then completed her Diploma in Health Studies in 1999, BSc (Hons) Nurse Practitioner – Community Nursing in 2000 and an MSc in Cancer Care in 2006.

On completion of her MSc Andrea moved into a Lead Cancer Nurse role, firstly within an acute trust and then latterly for a Cancer Network. In 2013 she moved to the Middle East as Director of Clinical Nursing for an Oncology Hospital before moving back to the UK in mid-2019 and commencing in the Cancer Workforce Lead role for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance.

The Cancer Workforce Lead role is Health Education England (HEE) funded and has two clear objectives. The first is to undertake a baseline assessment of the seven key cancer workforce professions identified within the Cancer Workforce Plan (2017) and the NHS Long Term Plan (2019) and the second is to support the Alliance in developing a cancer workforce plan to meet the current and future needs of the service until 2029.

Married with two adult children, and two grandchildren, Andrea loves travel, scuba diving and the sunshine!

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Jen Burns, Senior Programme Manager

Jen joined Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance as Senior Programme Manager in June 2020 and has over ten years’ experience in a variety of NHS roles including finance, operational management, project management and service improvement. Jen is an alumni of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme.

In her previous roles Jen has managed the implementation of remote surveillance pathways for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer patients across a number of provider trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside, as well as establishing a Macmillan information and support service for the population of West Lancashire. Jen also worked closely with primary care colleagues and commissioners in West Lancashire to provide Practice Nurse training to support patients living with and beyond cancer.

Jen is delighted to be bringing her knowledge and experience of cancer services and service transformation to Lancashire and South Cumbria and is looking forward to working closely with our partners to deliver efficient and effective patient services.