Friday, 23 February 2024
Friday, 23 February 2024

Healthcare charity’s cancer patient survey highlights care experience trends in England

New findings from a national survey conducted by international healthcare charity Picker regarding people experiencing cancer care in England show that people generally rate their overall care highly.

But the proportion of people reporting positively about being able to get help from staff when they needed it and support when outside of hospital is lower compared to 2021.

Most respondents described positive experiences of care from specialist cancer teams and in hospital. A large majority said the administration of their care was “very good” or “good” (87%) and of those who had a main point of contact 95% said this person was “quite” or “very” helpful. And nine out of 10 respondents (90%) said the whole care team worked well together to provide the best possible care. Questions relating to the involvement of family, friends, and carers, saw some of the largest positive changes in results from 2021:

  • Three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they were told that they could have a family member, carer or friend with them when getting their diagnosis – up from 70% in 2021;
  • Four out of five (80%) said that their family and/or carers were definitely involved as much as the patient wanted them to be in decisions about treatment options. This compares to 75% in 2021;
  • 66% said their family, or someone close, was definitely able to talk to a member of the team looking after the patient in hospital. A 5% point increase from the 2021 survey.

There are however areas for concern. With two of the largest negative changes in results from 2021 being seen for people who’d had an overnight stay for cancer care:

  • 73%, down from 76% in 2021, said they were always able to get help from ward staff when needed;
  • 64% said they were always able to discuss worries and fears with hospital staff. This compares to 67% in 2021.

The survey also shows that little improvement has been made to address the gaps found in 2021 survey relating to support available for people with cancer outside of the hospital. In 2022, of those who said that their GP practice was involved in their cancer treatment, less than half (45%) said that they “definitely” received the right amount of support. This is compared to 44% in 2021. And only 31% (down from 32% 2021) of respondents who needed care and support, felt they could get emotional support at home from community or voluntary services after their cancer treatment had finished.

Commenting on the findings, Jenny King, Chief Research Officer at Picker, said:

“The 2022 Adult National Cancer Patient Experience Survey is a rich source of information to help us understand the experiences of cancer care across England. The results support cancer services to make improvements based on what really matters to people in their care.

“The results for the involvement of family, friends, and carers are particularly pleasing as we know the impact Covid-19 had on visitation and changes to how loved ones were communicated with and supported. Families are often a vital part of the life of someone who is experiencing cancer care. Recognising the value of family in the patient experience, and welcoming their support and involvement, is key to delivering person-centred care.

“The results show a decline in positive experience for a number of questions regarding support for patients in hospital and at home. Both practical and emotional support can be a great help for people with cancer at a time that is intensely stressful, making it important that this downward trend does not continue.

“With the introduction of a new survey website and an improved interactive results dashboard this year, we encourage stakeholders to engage with the survey and explore the insight that it offers at a local, regional, and national level.” 

Picker is an international charity working across health and social care. It believes in high-quality person-centred care for all and promotes this by measuring and encouraging the use of staff and patient feedback.

Full results from the survey are available at www.ncpes.co.uk.

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