Newham University Hospital criticised over cancer patient care

Newham University Hospital has been singled out for failing to provide adequate care to people with cancer.

The trust was in the bottom ten of a national league table based on patients’ experiences.

This included whether their diagnosis and treatment options were explained clearly, and if they felt they were treated with respect.

The results were released by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The trust, which has since merged with Whipps Cross and Barts and the London to become Barts Health, said it was disappointed by the results.

A spokesman said: “It is clear that there is more that can be done, and will be done, to improve our cancer patients’ experience.

“All our hospitals are exceeding the 85 per cent national government target for seeing cancer patients within 62 days of GP referral.”

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Newham scored badly when it came to staff explaining the purpose of diagnostic tests. Just 67 per cent of respondents said they were given easy to understand written information about tests compared with the national average of 86 per cent.

Only four in ten breast cancer patients said they had been handed information about the type of cancer they had. The national average was 75 per cent.

Only 60 per cent of Newham University patients were told they were entitled to free prescriptions compared with 72 nationally.

However, the trust scored well when it came to staff explaining how operations had gone – 76 per cent.

Barts Health now runs chemotherapy clinics at Newham University Hospital to provide patients with specialist care.

The spokesman added: “We continue to provide communications training to our clinical staff and we take every opportunity to reinforce our service standards by acting on patient feedback.”

Macmillan’s chief medical officer, Professor Jane Maher, said: “Hospitals are constantly having to hit targets around cleanliness and safety but not for how you treat a person. This needs to change.

“It is absolutely vital that patient experience is prioritised as it can make such a real difference to how patients recover from gruelling cancer treatment.”