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New cancer patient experience results released

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 17 August 2012

On 17th August 2012, the second National Cancer Patient Experience survey was published by the Department of Health. Media reports focused on the finding that 88% of patients surveyed rated their cancer care as either excellent or very good. Within the survey upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer patients account for 6% of respondents, and pancreatic cancer patients sit within this group.

The following findings were specific to the upper gastrointestinal cancer patient experience:

  • 76% of upper GI patients reported that "doctors did not talk in front of them as if they were not there" - the lowest score for the cancer types included
  • 55% of upper GI patients reported that there were always or nearly always enough nurses on duty - again, the lowest score reported
  • There were minimal age related differences in access to a clinical nurse specialist for upper GI cancer patients - whereas some other cancers had significantly lower access for patients over 75
  • 75% of upper GI patients reported that their test results were explained completely, compared to a high of 83% and a low of 71%
  • 72% of upper GI patients were told that they could bring a family member with them to appointments, compared to a high of 80% and a low of 61%
  • 79% were told that they had cancer sensitively, compared to a high of 87% and a low of 74%
  • 73% of upper GI patients said that they completely understood what was wrong with them,  compared to a high of 79% and a low of 62%
  • 62% were given written information about their type of cancer, compared to a high of 78% and a low of 50%
  • 89% of upper GI patients were given the name of a clinical nurse specialist, compared to a high of 91% and a low of 75%
  • 38% of upper GI patients were able to discuss taking part in cancer research, compared to a high of 39% and a low of 15%

Alex Ford, CEO, Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments, "We very much welcome the second National Cancer Patient Experience survey and the overall improvement in cancer patient experiences. However, we are concerned that Upper GI cancer patients still report areas of poor quality experience.

"Our Study for Survival report published last year and our own analysis of the previous survey found that pancreatic cancer patients came at the bottom of the league table across most key areas. We will be looking for a detailed breakdown of these results specific to pancreatic cancer to establish whether there have been improvements since the last survey."