Cancer patients satisfied with care

First Minister announces results of first experience survey.

The first ever Scottish cancer patient experience survey has shown that the majority of patients are happy with their NHS care and treatment, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.

The survey of almost 5000 cancer patients shows 94% of patients rate their care positively.

It also shows 87% of patients felt they were always treated with dignity and respect by nurses and doctors.

The results will help inform a range of actions being taken forward under the Scottish Government’s cancer strategy, backed up with £100 million of investment.

The cancer strategy includes more than 50 actions to improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care for those with cancer. This includes £9 million over the next five years to ensure better support for people with cancer and their families, such as link workers and initiatives like Macmillan’s Improving the Cancer Journey.

The strategy will ensure every cancer patient has a treatment summary which sets out information about follow up care as well as contact information about next steps agreed with them.

The First Minister and Health Secretary Shona Robison visited the Macmillan Cancer Support Centre at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital to speak to patients about the survey.

The First Minister said: “It is heartening to know that in the majority of cases, patients are satisfied with the care they receive.

“Being diagnosed with cancer can be very traumatic for individuals and their families and it is vital we provide the best possible care and support.

“We know there is more to be done and that’s why earlier this year we announced our £100 million cancer strategy, which makes clear the importance of listening to what people with cancer are saying about what matters to them, and acting on what they tell us.

“The results of this survey is the first step in this process and will support us in making improvements in cancer care across Scotland.

“We will be working with NHS and Social Care through NHS and integration joint boards as well as stakeholders and people with cancer to ensure support for cancer patients at every stage of their treatment is embedded in every day service delivery.”

Commissioned by the Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support, the survey aimed to find out how patients felt about the care and support they received as they moved through the cancer care system.

Results showed:

  • 94% rated their care positively (giving an overall rating of seven out of 10 or above)
  • 87% felt they were always treated with dignity and respect by nurses and doctors
  • 86% felt they were told they had cancer in a sensitive manner
  • 84% had access to a clinical nurse specialist

The survey also found areas where improvements could be made, particularly around helping patients access support for their wider emotional, financial and practical needs.

Ms Robison said:

“As we learn from the experiences of those living with and beyond cancer it is clear that more can be done to improve the quality of care available after treatment.

“It is essential that people with cancer know about their treatment and are able to access to information, advice and support tailored to their individual needs.

“Our cancer strategy makes clear the importance of ensuring that on-going wellbeing needs are addressed at the same time as health needs.

“Today is also international ‘What Matters to You Day’ where people working in hospitals and care settings are asking what matters to the people they care. Through this, and initiatives such as the cancer patient experience survey, we can work to understand what really matters to people, improving the experience, quality and effectiveness of care

“These results give us a sound platform to work from and we look forward to working with Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS health boards in implementing the Cancer Strategy over the next few years.”

Macmillan’s head in Scotland, Janice Preston, said:

“This survey shows that without a doubt, offering patients a holistic needs assessment and care plan is vitally important in ensuring they have a good experience of care.

“The gulf in the patient experience had by those who had a care plan compared to those who didn’t is truly startling, particularly when it comes to accessing emotional, practical and financial support.

“We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to make sure every cancer patient in the country is offered this as soon as possible”.

Notes to editors

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey surveyed 4,835 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer between July 2013 and March 2014, and had subsequently been in hospital between January 2014 and September 2014. The survey is available here:

Care Plan – for each question asked, those who had a care plan were more positive about their care than those who had not received one. 98% of those who received a care plan were positive about their overall experience compared to 92% of those who did not receive one.

Of those who did not receive a care plan, 34% felt they received enough care and support from health and social care services after treatment compared to 73% of those who had a care plan. Three quarters of those who received a care plan received information on financial support and benefits compared to less than half – 42% – of those without a care plan. Of those surveyed 22% said they had received a care plan. The cancer ctrategy includes a commitment to work to ensure that every person with cancer is given a treatment summary.

What Matters to You Day - health and social care services across Scotland have committed to an international campaign to increase focus on the things that really matter to people who are supported by health and care services in Scotland. The aim of the campaign encourages and supports more meaningful conversations between people who provide care and the people, families and carers who are cared for. For more information visit:

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