Welsh Government
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Welsh cancer patients positive about their care

The care received by cancer patients in Wales was either excellent or very good according to 89 per cent of patients who responded to the recent ‘Cancer Patient Experience Survey’ produced by Welsh Government in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Welsh cancer patient experience survey published today (Monday 27 January) reported the views of 7,352 cancer patients. With a 69% response rate the results provide a robust and comprehensive analysis of people’s experiences of cancer.

The clear message of this survey is the majority of people receive excellent care and support in a wide range of areas. The survey does show variation in experience between those with different types of cancer and those treated in different hospitals and the Welsh Government today committed to continuing to address this to ensure even more patients receive excellent care.

The survey showed very positive experience of aspects of care:

  • Regarding dignity; 85% said they were always treated with respect and dignity by staff, 87% had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses caring for them and 94% said they had enough privacy when being treated.
  • In the coordination of care; 88 per cent of people were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist who would be in charge of their care.
  • 92 per cent of patients said their clinical nurse specialist definitely listened carefully to them.
  • 92 per cent got understandable answers to important questions all or most of the time from their Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  • The results also highlighted effective systems to co-ordinate care; 96% of patients said their cancer doctor had the right documents and 92% said their GP was given enough information about their condition and treatment by the hospital.

Importantly, the survey has also highlighted areas of care which need improvement:

  • The survey also shows some variation between hospital sites and some cancer types and effort is needed to drive down this variation. For example those with breast cancer were more positive in their responses than those with sarcoma, lung or urological cancers.
  • While two thirds of patients were given the name of a key worker, and report clearly the benefit of having key workers and cancer nurse specialists, more work is needed to improve consistency of access. Whilst 68% of patients said they had discussed or been given information about the impact of cancer on work or education, only 51% said they had been given information about how to get financial help or benefits by hospital staff. More action is needed meet  the holistic needs of the patient.
  • Similarly the survey results show work is needed to improve the consistency of written care plans. Although overall patients score well the information given about their care across a range of areas only a small number were offered a written plan.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“This survey asked people diagnosed with cancer to provide feedback on the care and treatment they received. I want to thank those who took the time to respond at what can be a difficult moment in their lives.

“I am heartened to see so many patients had a positive experience and the evidence of effective systems being in place alongside support to individuals is very clear. This is the first year this survey has taken place in Wales and the NHS as a whole will need to listen to and act upon the voices of patients.

“This survey helps us in gathering the right kind of evidence so we can better understand the different needs of people who use our services. It provides us an important picture of what matters to individuals, not simply the currency of time.

"Whilst the results of this survey are encouraging, every patient deserves the best care, and there are some important areas where further improvement is still needed.”

Susan Morris, General Manager Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said:

“Macmillan Wales welcomes the results of the Welsh Government’s first national cancer patient experience survey.

“It is fantastic that 89 per cent of the cancer patients who completed the survey said their care was either excellent or very good.

“The survey also highlights areas where improvements are needed including variations between Local Health Boards and the experiences of people with different cancer types.

“It is clear from the survey that health boards have some way to go in fully meeting people’s needs, for example, patients need to be offered more support when their treatment has ended, which is increasingly important as more people are living with or beyond cancer.”

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