FORCE key to enhancing patient experience

FORCE has been given special credit after a survey revealed that the majority of cancer patients in Devon have rated the care they receive above many other areas in the country.

As part of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, people were asked a range of questions, such as whether they were getting their cancer tests at the right time and if they were being involved as much as they wanted in decisions about their care.

Patients were also asked if they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital, and whether hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital.

They rated their overall care on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 10 (very good), with the national average being 8.7.

RD&E tops county table

All of Devon’s hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) scored highly:

• South Devon and Torbay CCG: 8.9
• Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust: 8.9
• Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust: 9.0
• NEW Devon CCG: 8.9
• Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust: 8.7
• Northern Devon Healthcare Trust: 8.9

The annual National Cancer Patient Experience Survey has been going since 2010.

John Renninson, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital’s associate medical director for cancer, said: “We are delighted with the results of the survey, which continue to improve year on year, demonstrating a high level of confidence that our patients have in the care, treatment and support they received.

“It is especially pleasing to have recognition for the support and information provided, which has been a key area of focus for us in recent years. Much of this has been achieved with the support and innovation of our amazing local cancer charity FORCE.”

Significant improvement

Dr Eileen Deakin, clinical lead for long-term conditions at South Devon and Torbay CCG, said: “We value our cancer services very highly, and these positive ratings reflect the dedication, skill and compassion of those delivering cancer care here.

“However, while we are pleased that the majority of our patients feel they are getting the treatment they deserve, there will always be areas where we can do better, so we will continue to strive for improvement.”

During the past year, patients across Devon reported significant improvement on being seen as soon as they thought necessary for hospital cancer appointments, cancer tests, and cancer treatment.

Lorna Collingwood-Burke, chief nursing officer at NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “These results show us that the vast majority of our cancer patients are very positive about the NHS care they are getting, which is really pleasing for us.

“High-quality cancer treatment and high-quality patient experience are always a priority across Devon, and our staff always aim to improve on the excellent work they do.”

Driving improvements

The survey is designed to monitor national progress on cancer care, provide information to drive local quality improvements, to assist commissioners and providers of cancer care and to inform the work of the various charities and stakeholder groups supporting cancer patients.

Rob Dyer, medical director at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Any cancer diagnosis is life-changing for patients and their families, so it is vital that they feel well cared for and supported during this time.

“Our cancer services team work incredibly hard to ensure that people have the care and support they need before, during and after cancer treatment.

“These latest results from the national cancer patient survey really are testament to our staff and the GP practices locally who work together to ensure high-quality care and services for cancer patients.”