There has been a significant annual increase in the percentage of cancer patients who say they trust and have confidence in all the nursing staff treating them, according to a national survey.
In 2016, 74% of respondents to the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey said that they had confidence and trust in all of the nurses treating them.
“This survey confirms the vast majority of people with cancer are really positive about the NHS care they receive”
This is “significantly higher” than last year’s score of 72%, said a report on the 2016 survey results, which was published today.
In addition, 90% of respondents said they were given the name of a clinical nurse specialist who would support them through their treatment.
When asked how easy or difficult it had been to contact their clinical nurse specialist, 86% of respondents said that it had been “quite easy” or “very easy”.
Meanwhile, 88% of respondents said that, when they had had important questions to ask their clinical nurse specialist, they had got answers they could understand all or most of the time.
But the survey respondents were less positive about the number of nurses available to help them while in hospital.
It revealed that 67% of respondents thought there were always or nearly always enough nurses on duty to care for them in hospital, and 26% said there were sometimes enough nurses on duty.
Overall, the national survey shows cancer patients feel increasingly positive about their NHS care
“This positive feedback from patients is an encouraging testament to the hard work of NHS staff”
The 2016 survey asked patients with cancer across England for their views on their care, with 72,788 responding.
Asked to rate their care on a scale of zero to 10, respondents gave an average rating of 8.74, a statistically significant increase on last year’s score of 8.70.
Patients also reported statistically significant improvements on being seen as soon as they thought necessary for hospital cancer appointments, cancer tests, and cancer treatment.
In addition, they were more positive about areas including involvement in decisions about care and treatment, feeling they were given enough information and being treated with dignity and respect.
Key findings included that 87.5% of patients said they got their cancer tests at the right time, up from 86.6% last year, and that 78% said they were definitely involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care.
The survey also found 88% of respondents in 2016 considered that, overall, they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital.
The vast majority of respondents, 94%, said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital.
Meanwhile, 82% of respondents said groups of doctors and nurses did not talk in front of them as if they weren’t there, 14% said that this sometimes happened and 4% said that this often happened.
However, the survey points to areas for further improvement including follow up community and social care after treatment.
For example, 62% of respondents said that they thought the GPs and nurses at their general practice definitely did everything they could to support them while they were having cancer treatment.
Even worse, only 58% of respondents said that the doctors or nurses definitely gave their family or someone close to them all the information they needed to help care for them at home.
Professor Chris Harrison, national clinical director for cancer at NHS England, said: “The latest data shows cancer survival is now at a record high and this survey confirms the vast majority of people with cancer are really positive about the NHS care they receive, reporting further improvements over the past year.
“One of our key ambitions is to put cancer patient experience front and centre at a time when the NHS is successfully treating more patients for cancer than ever before, so this positive feedback from patients is an encouraging testament to the hard work of NHS staff,” he added.