Cancer patients in Milton Keynes are less satisfied with their experience of treatment than anywhere in the country outside of London.
Charity Macmillan Cancer Support has made the claim following the release of the government’s National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.
The survey saw patients across England and Wales asked a series of questions about their treatment for cancer, both in hospital and at their GP surgery. These ranged from whether patients felt they were told sensitively that they had cancer, to how well hospital and community staff worked together.
Milton Keynes came in the bottom 20 per cent of Trusts in 46 out of 63 questions.
David Crosby, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said, “These results are very disappointing for the people of Milton Keynes.
“Although this survey is not a measure of treatment outcomes, such as survival rates, Macmillan strongly believes that patient experience is as important as outcomes when it comes to quality of life.
“Macmillan has been working with Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation Trust for many years, but it is clear that there is a need for us and the local health services to work together further to improve patient experience, and we are very keen to do this. We have already identified a number of areas in which we might be able to provide support, and look forward to progressing these discussions with a variety of partners.”
212 cancer patients from Milton Keynes took part in the study, after postal surveys were sent to their homes after discharge.
MacMillan’s analysis of the national figures claims that only patients at Barts Health NHS Trust in London reported worst results.
Milton Keynes Hospital chief executive Joe Harrison, said: “Our cancer teams work incredibly hard to provide every patient with the most positive experience possible and I share their disappointment that, for some of the 212 patients who responded to the survey this is not something we have managed to achieve.
“Whilst every patient’s experience is vitally important, I do not think that this small sample of views should be used as a measure of the experience of all, or even the majority of patients with cancer we treat and care for.”
He added: “The cancer services team continually strive to make improvements to support patients with cancer and improve their experience of our hospital, particularly in the way we communicate with them about their diagnosis and treatment.
“These improvements include the introduction of a patient diary pilot for patients to record their whole cancer journey from their GP, through various departments of the hospital. The themes and issues raised in the diaries will be examined by our cancer patient partnership group, who will then advise the trust on actions needed to address any areas for improvement.
“The trust also has very well attended information and awareness events for patients with different cancers.
“The trust has recently invested in more medical staff, including consultant oncologists for gastrointestinal, lung, breast, and urology and brain cancer as well as opening a second oncology suit on site to manage an increased demand.
“We are also planning, with Oxford University Hospitals, to develop a new cancer centre on the hospital site as part of our commitment to meeting the health needs of local people and continuing to improve care and experience for patients with cancer.
“We welcome the support of Macmillan and look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we improve and develop our services for patients.”
Read the full nhs report at www.quality-health.co.uk/resources/surveys/national-cancer-experience-survey/2014-national-cancer-patient-experience-survey/2014-national-cancer-patient-experience-survey-reports/2014-east-midlands/545-milton-keynes-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust-1/file