Worst hospital experience for London cancer patients

Cancer patients in Newham are among those who have the worst hospital experience, according to a survey.

The figures, which have been released by Macmillan Cancer Support but are based on Department of Health research , reveal that eight out of ten NHS trusts at the bottom of a league table measuring patient experience in England are in London. They include Newham University Hospital NHS Trust.

They measure patients’ experience at hospital and consider issues such as whether or not there were enough nurses on duty, if they were given enough support from health and social services or the right emotional support.

The study does cover the medical treatments they receved such as standards of chemotherapy or surgery.

However the trust has defended its position saying it had only a small number of eligible patients (178), less than half (45 per cent or 78) of whom responded to the questionnaire, compared with a national average of 67 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “The authors of the report recognise that the results from those Trusts with relatively small numbers should be treated with caution since small numbers widen the confidence intervals significantly.”

Mike Gill, Medical Director at the trust, said: “The Trust recognises that improvements to services can always be made and are implementing a programme to continue to improve services for cancer patients. Newham has a high number of patients where English is not their first language and a very small number of respondents. We recognise that this can influence surveys like this.

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“We are hoping to work with National Cancer Action Team (which commissioned the survey) to develop future surveys that take account of the needs of our local population and allow a more accurate representation of our services.”

Following the results the Trust has identified five key areas to focus on improving the experience for patients. They include cutting outpatients waiting times, improved communication between health professionals when discussing tests and promoting a greater understanding of patient’s key worker, as many were not able to confirm that they had one.