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Most cancer patients positive about care, survey suggests

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Cancer patients’ experience of care is improving, with 88% of patients reporting their care was either excellent or very good, according to a national survey.

The national cancer patient experience survey published today reported the views of 116,000 cancer patients in all 155 hospital trusts that provide treatment to patients with cancer.

According to the survey, 94% of patients said they were always given enough privacy when being examined or treated, and 91% said their clinical nurse specialist definitely listened carefully to them.

In addition, 91% said they got understandable answers to important questions all or most of the time from their clinical nurse specialist and 88% of patients were given easy to understand written information about tests.

Sean Duffy, NHS England’s national clinical director for cancer, said: “I am heartened to see that so many patients had a good experience of their care. 

“Whilst the results of this survey are very encouraging, every patient deserves the best experience they can have of care and that is what we shall be working on for future.

He added: “This is the third year this survey has taken place and with each survey we are seeing improvements in the scores.”

However, Mr Duffy said was “disappointed” to see that survey scores at 31 trusts had deteriorated since last year.  “The falls in score were marginal but this does mean there is more work to do,” he said.

But the survey results contrast with research carried out for Macmillan Cancer Support, which was published earlier this month. The YouGov survey of 2,217 adults with cancer revealed 21% had felt patronised by hospital staff and 11% had had their medical file lost.

Responding to the new survey results, Macmillan chief executive Ciarán Devane said: “It is really positive that just about half of NHS trusts in England have improved the quality of care they give to people with cancer.

“But if half can improve, it is strange that a third made no improvement and some even provided worse care for cancer patients,” he said.

Mr Devane added that the charity’s own analysis had found the treatment of hospital staff was “intrinsically” linked to cancer care standards.

He said: “Happy staff means happy patients. Conversely, where staff suffer high levels of discrimination or harassment, cancer patients are up to 18 times more likely to receive poor care. That is really worrying, and comes down to leadership.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • George Kuchanny

    A noteworthy article. Of personal interest to me because it briefly touches on the cause of my son's death. Too long to post anything meaningful about that here as a comment, investigation still on going.

    Suffice to say that all readers would be dumbfounded by the oncological care he got and the complete avoidance of any discussion by haematologists or oncologists (what's the difference between these specialisms?) on pivotally important matters.

    His care cost the local Trust an arm and a leg and yet the care he got in the last 43 and a bit days of his life could not have been much worse. At this time a heavy burden of fault lies with a small number of doctors who managed to easily convince several nurses that they were only extending a death. His life was made unbearable in accordance with that notion. A completely wrong notion as it turns out. Other doctors and nurses were not so easily swayed.

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