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Estimated 10,000 cancer patients 'given wrong drugs'


An estimated 10,000 cancer patients a year are given the wrong drugs in hospital, according to new research commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The YouGov survey of 2,142 UK adults living with cancer revealed that 6% of the estimated 170,000 cancer patients in England admitted to hospital each year say they were given the incorrect medication.

Meanwhile, 7% of the respondents - equating to 12,000 cancer patients in England each year - said they felt like dropping out of their treatment programme early due to the way they were dealt with by hospital staff.

More than one in three (37%) cancer patients said their hospital room or area was not kept clean and tidy at all times.

Of the cancer patients who required extra food, a third said they never received it.

Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciarán Devane acknowledged that “most cancer patients get great care most of the time” but said it is “alarming” that so many are given the wrong drugs, are not given enough food or have considered cutting short their treatment due to their interactions with hospital staff.

Citing the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust scandal, he added: “This survey sheds a worrying light on the subculture within some parts of the NHS where bad patient experience is acceptable.”

He called on NHS staff to be given the “time and space” and the “tools” to be able to deliver true patient care.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • I am surprised that McMillan has associated themselves with this poorly undertaken, internet based, YouGov "survey".

    McMillan has and remains (for the moment) a respected organisation who have provided care to many hundreds (thousands?) of cancer suffers and their relatives.

    Being at the centre of cancer care in the UK the organisation should have been aware of any shortcomings in cancer care without having to resort to an unscientific survey.

    The surveys findings have been extrapolated
    to produce alarming quasi "statistics which in all probability bear no relation to reality.

    There is no evidence, the "respondents" are anonymous and the hospitals/wards are unidentified

    This is typical tabloid NHS/Nurse bashing.

    I am surprised that McMillan have associated themselves with a truly despicable piece of work.

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  • A Press Association report which has also been published in several national newspapers including yesterday's DT online

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  • This is awful. if true, esp. drop-outs of treatment based on bad treatment from staff!

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  • I read about this yesterday and tried unsuccessfully on Google, McMillan and the Gov website to get copies of the original results of the survey and the report. as usual the DT didn't bother to give any references and I have learnt from another article where I requested a ref. from the editor that they report on news from other news sources rather than on the original surveys and studies! This surely must have an effect on the authenticity, accuracy and validity of the information reported! I would like to be able to verify this online and without incurring financial cost to myself.

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