Cancer strategy: consultation analysis

Responses to our consultation on a new cancer strategy which sought views on areas to prioritise in relation to cancer prevention, management and care. Responses were analysed in order to provide a transparent evidence base to the government.

Question 6

We want to hear your views on how broad the strategy and actions plans should be, in addition to what the main areas of focus should be. We are proposing that themes are used consistently in the overarching strategy and 3 year action plans, these currently include:

  • Person-centred care
  • Prevention
  • Timely access to care
  • High quality care
  • Safe, effective treatments
  • Improving quality of life and wellbeing
  • Data, technology, and measurement
  • Outcomes

Do you agree with these themes?

Figure 5. Share of Yes/No responses to Question 6
The chart depicts 95% of respondents answering Yes and 5% of respondents answering No.

There was a high level of support for the proposed themes among respondents: 95% of respondents agreed with the themes, while 5% did not agree. Respondents were also asked to provide any comments on their response, and the key themes raised in responses are covered below. There were 163 responses to the open-format question (86 were from individuals and 77 from organisations).

Comments mainly highlighted suggestions for improvement or requested clarification regarding the list of themes provided by the Scottish Government.

Prevention, accessibility and quality of care

The most common theme identified within responses encompassed prevention, accessibility and equity. Respondents suggested that early diagnosis be included in the list of themes. Responses also raised issues around equal access to treatment as well as care and innovation (e.g. medicines, advanced therapies or clinical trials). Another prevalent point was about the reduction of health or regional inequalities.

"getting treatment as early and as quickly as possible is essential." (Individual response)

"ease of access to care and support." (Individual response)

Responses discussing the quality of care provided stressed the necessity to attract specialists as well as guarantee the safe and efficient treatment of high-risk cases, such as cancers with dangerous outcomes or secondary cancers. Palliative care was also mentioned.

"For me, improving quality of care and well-being is important. However, I personally get a sense that staff don't know who they are talking to most of time." (Individual response)

Service and workforce management

The second most popular theme focused on how services and the workforce are being managed. Service management mostly regarded service delivery, support, infrastructure and partnerships with third parties such as the industry. Other responses underlined the approach towards leadership or adapting the strategies to respond to the needs identified during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"These are huge goals and will require a massive commitment from all cancer services. The clinical teams are often firefighting and the support services are always on funding limited timescales." (Individual response)

Respondents also mentioned the need to better equip the workforce, including increasing the supplies available and the training opportunities offered.

"Again if availability of services is to increase so does investment in staffing and equipment" (Individual response)

Person-centred care, wellbeing and communication

Another prevalent theme combined the person-centred care as introduced in the strategy with wellbeing and communication. Respondents paid particular attention to patients' quality of life, the involvement of patients' families in the care plan and allowing for some flexibility between care plans and each person's needs. Some responses also raised the role of community pharmacies in achieving person-centred care, while others made references to raising awareness and education.

"patient centred care at forefront of everything" (Individual response)

With reference to person-centres care, some responses also addressed the communication between staff and patients. Respondents felt that individual experiences of patients should be taken into account, and that patients should be providing feedback on the care they receive.

Research and technology

Another theme frequently discussed was research and technology. Responses under this theme suggesting improving data collection, increasing the use of evidence-based approaches and enhancing digitisation. Some respondents also enquired as to how outcomes can be measured.

"We welcome data, technology, and measurement as an area of focus. At present, the lack of blood cancer data in Scotland hampers our ability to understand where action is most needed. Improved data collection will enable better analysis which can inform policies to improve blood cancer outcomes." (Organisation response)

Broader agreement with the themes

Some respondents agreed with the list of themes without adding further suggestions. Some others agreed but raised concerns regarding the extent to which the themes were realistic or not, the clarity of their message and their aims and implications. Few responses addressed more practical issues (e.g. possible duplication of themes).

"I am not sure if some of the themes are too big which allows some areas to have improvement and others to slip through the net." (Individual response)



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