ASHFORD & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust ranks fifth from the bottom out of 20 in England for cancer patient experience.
That’s according to the latest study published by Macmillan Cancer Support at the end of last month. The survey does not measure medical care.
Ashford & St Peter’s was one of nine trusts in the South East in the bottom 10 of the 2014 patient experience league table, which is why the charity are calling
for urgent action to improve care. The remaining eight were London trusts.
However, for the first time Macmillan say the ‘enormous efforts’ to improve their patients’ care experience care are beginning to show results. The league table follows NHS England’s National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2014, where 80 questions were put to 70,000 cancer patients.
These included whether their diagnosis and treatment options had been explained clearly; if they felt supported in their care; and whether they felt they were treated with respect.
Senior Macmillan Development Manager for Surrey, Sue Barrow, said: “These results are very disappointing. There is a lot of good work already being done to improve patient experience, and Macmillan Cancer Support are committed to working with the trust to improve on these results in the coming year.”
The charity have a presence at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals through 20 Macmillan professional roles, including site specific and palliative care clinical
nurse specialists. The most recently funded role was for a Macmillan skin clinical nurse specialist earlier this year.
The trust are also moving solid tumour chemotherapy to their Ashford site, having started with breast cancer, reducing patient travel to the cancer centre in Guildford.
The trust are working on new Macmillan clinical nurse specialist roles and are committed to improving the experience of patients working with Macmillan Cancer Support. They have launched patients’ rights leaflet Your Cancer Care, which outlines key actions in the Macmillan Values Based Standard.
For example, patients should expect to be involved in decisions, be informed of treatment options and why recommendations have been made. They should be communicated with sensitively and offered support, and patients should share any concerns they have about what they are told.
Your Cancer Care introduces practical steps so that patients engage in their care and what to do if things are wrong.
To ensure cancer patients are treated with the highest levels of respect and dignity, and that staff are fully supported to deliver this, Macmillan believe that the Government should:
- Shine a light on poor care by publishing a clear comparison of patient experience in UK trusts and demand hospitals take action.
- Require trusts to publish plans addressing weaknesses in patient experience and staff engagement, and report on their progress.
- Make sure frontline staff have time to access training to deliver care with dignity and respect.
A Macmillan GP is currently working on an early diagnosis education event for local doctors.