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Cancer patients note improvement in care

More cancer patients than ever say they are being treated with respect and are being give more treatment choices in the NHS, a survey shows.

The second national cancer patient experience survey shows 98 Trusts improved on their results from the last survey.

Of the almost 72,000 patients polled 88% rated their overall care as either “excellent” or “very good”.  

Ninety-four percent said they are “always” given enough privacy when being examined or treated by healthcare professionals - a rise of 1% from 2010.

More than nine in ten of cancer patients also said they received "understandable” answers to questions from their clinical nurse specialist and 84% (up from 83% in 2010) said they were given a choice of the different types of cancer treatment before their treatment started.

Speaking at a visit to Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trusts, which has been awarded the title of the most improved Trust in the country, the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said the survey results shows “we are heading in the right direction”.

“An improved patient experience for cancer patients is fantastic news and I would like to thank those doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly to improve standards of care,” he said.

“Where Trusts are doing less well, I would urge them to look at what patients are telling them and take action so that cancer care best practice is adopted across the whole of the NHS.”

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said he is “pleased” the survey recognises the “important contribution” specialist nurses make to patients with cancer.

“Patients with cancer need not just cutting-edge treatment, but clear communication, empathy and dignity, as do their relatives,” he said.

“Nurses are clearly making progress in this area even under immense pressure. The health service needs to pull together to ensure that those who do not always get the very best care, such as people with rare cancers, can get support which matches the best.”

Do you think the survey results are reflective of the care given to cancer patients?