National survey shows cancer patients feel increasingly positive about their NHS care

An annual national survey published today shows key patient experiences of NHS cancer care improved over the past year.

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2016 asked people with cancer across England for their views on their care, with 72,788 responding.

Asked to rate their care on a scale of zero (very poor) to 10 (very good), respondents gave an average rating of 8.74 (ie 87.4% favourable) a statistically significant increase on last year’s score.

Patients also reported statistically significant improvements over the past year on being seen as soon as they thought necessary for hospital cancer appointments, cancer tests, and cancer treatment.

The survey also shows people reported more positively on areas including involvement in decisions about care and treatment, feeling they were given enough information and being treated with dignity and respect.

The survey also points to areas for further improvement including follow up community and social care after treatment. Work is underway to improve in these areas, and the new Cancer Alliances will support organisations to ensure patients have a good experience of care.

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.”

Key findings of the national cancer patient experience survey 2016 include:

  • 87.5% of patients said they got their cancer tests at the right time, up from 86.6% last year
  • 78% of respondents said that they were definitely involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care
  • 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”
  • 88% of respondents said that, overall, they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital
  • 94% of respondents said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital

The full results are available on the Quality Health website.