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Thousands of cancer patients could be without a care plan, charity says

More than 100,000 cancer patients are failing to receive a care plan of support after diagnosis, according to analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) for England, run by Quality Health on behalf of NHS England, found that 54% of their 71,186 respondents said they had not been given a care plan.

However, Macmillan said that if applied to the 280,000 people, who had their first treatment for cancer in 2015 according to NHS England, the scale of the problem is more significant.

Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support says: “While on the surface cancer patients are having a good overall experience of care, a closer look shows there are still concerns.

“It is deeply worrying that more than half of cancer patients are failing to receive a care plan which sets out their treatment and could include information on potential side effects and where they can get vital support.

Woodard also expressed concern that more than 100,000 people were potentially not being told about the long-term side effects of their cancer treatment, such as heart conditions or incontinence.

Woodard added: “The results suggest that there is still a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer care and a lack of personalised support, with a third of in-patients saying some staff didn't ask them what they wanted to be called.

“It is vital that cancer patients have a good experience of care from the moment they experience symptoms, through treatment and for as long as they need afterwards.

“The Government must prioritise cancer care and the experience of patients to ensure the system is equipped to cope with the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed and living with the disease.

“This includes ensuring everyone receives personalised support through a care plan that is regularly updated as their needs change, so they are fully informed and can access the essential services they need.”

Further analysis in the CPES data released this month is set to be published in July.