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London hospitals need to urgently improve patient care

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The NHS England’s National Cancer Patient Experience Survey revealed that 9 of London’s hospital NHS Trusts scored in the bottom 10. It is the third year running that London Trusts have filled the majority of the places in the bottom 10 of the Macmillan Cancer Support league table and many show little improvement from the previous years, which is disappointing.

The survey aimed to measure the patient experience whilst being treated in hospital for cancer. It asked patients whether their diagnosis and treatment options were explained clearly to them; whether they felt supported in their care; and whether they felt they were treated with respect. Around 116,000 cancer patients took part in the Survey in all 155 NHS Trusts.

Macmillan Cancer Support has been working closely with the NHS Trusts in London. They have provided training courses for thousands of NHS cancer staff to help provide better support for patients with emotional, financial, social and physical needs. The charity has also tried to implement the ‘Macmillan Values Based Standard’ to improve the culture and behaviour of staff.

Carol Fenton, Macmillan’s General Manger in London believes improvements are very possible across the Trusts in the capital. It is however unacceptable that some cancer patients are being let down by hospitals failing to provide crucial support, alongside medical treatment.

Since the results of the survey, Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a new report which recommends a number of changes for putting the cancer patient experience at the heart of the NHS.

The survey has been running for the last three years and has generally seen improvements in the scores. The NHS England National Clinical Director for Cancer, Sean Duffy has stated this clearly demonstrates the power of the patients voice and shows the NHS collectively is listening to what they have to say about their cancer care.

Every patient deserves the best experience they can have of care and hopefully, with Macmillan’s help, the London NHS Trusts will improve the standards.

By Sarah Fairclough, clinical negligence graduate paralegal