National cancer experience survey

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Cancer patients are getting the chance to give their views on the care they are receiving through the first national cancer patient experience survey.

The survey, which is jointly funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Scottish Government, has now been sent out to a cohort of cancer patients. They are those with a confirmed cancer diagnosis between July 2013 and March 2014 and who also stayed in hospital between January 2014 and September 2014. Patients who had lymphoma or melanoma have been excluded from the cohort and will not receive the survey.

The survey will ask patients questions such as how they felt about the way they were told about their diagnosis, whether they understood the information provided about their treatment, and whether they had confidence and trust in the staff treating them. The results will help to shape the future direction of cancer care in Scotland.

The results of the survey will be taken into consideration by the Scottish Government and individual health boards and used to inform planning for future cancer services. The aim is to make sure services meet people’s clinical and non-clinical needs and that they are truly person-centred.

Angus McKellar, NHS Western Isles Medical Director, said: “No one knows more about the experience of receiving care than our patients. This survey will help NHS Western Isles to tap into real life care experienced by patients with cancer and provide further insights into the standard of services they receive.”

Neil Galbraith, Chair of NHS Western Isles, said: “It is vital that we listen to patients, this is an essential aspect to driving up quality of care and ensures that the NHS focuses its services on what matters most to patients. I would urge any patient who receives the questionnaire to complete and return it.”

The survey is being conducted by Quality Health, a specialist research organisation experienced in working with the NHS. It is being overseen by a steering group with representation from NHS boards, regional cancer networks, patients, NHS Information Services Division, the Scottish Government and the voluntary sector.

Patients eligible for the survey were identified by the NHS NSS Information Services Division using hospital admissions data coupled with checks against other registers.

The first questionnaires were sent out on October 7 with patients due to receive two reminders. The last reminder will go out before the end of November and responses must be submitted before Christmas.

Any cancer patients with queries or issues about the survey should contact Denise Symington, Patient Focus and Public Involvement, NHS Western Isles, on 01851 708041.