The Welsh Government and Macmillan Cancer Support launch the first national survey allowing cancer patients to report back on the quality of their care
Cancer patients across Wales will be able to report back on the quality of services they have received after the launch of the first national patient experience survey today.
The survey, developed by the Welsh Government and Macmillan Cancer Support, aims to look at patient experience and drive up standards for cancer services across the country.
It comes just days after campaigners voiced their disappointment that vital cancer targets set by the Welsh Government were missed again.
Figures showed that just 83.6% of people needing urgent treatment for cancer were seen within the two-month target.
The Welsh Government target is for 95% of patients to begin treatment within 62 days of diagnosis, and has not been met since 2008.
Targets for 98% of non-urgent cases to start treatment within 31 days were also missed, with 97.4% of cases being seen in that timeframe.
The publication of the survey, which will be sent to patients in the next month, is part of the Welsh Government’s Commitment to improve care for cancer patients as part of its Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales.
The survey will be issued to patients who had a hospital stay between June 2012 and March 2013.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford said:“The best people to ask about how cancer services are being delivered in Wales are the patients themselves. They have a raft of experience and are experts in their own lives. There is a great deal to learn from what they have to say.
“When a patient hears a doctor deliver a diagnosis of cancer, it is a life-changing moment. How the doctor delivers that diagnosis and the support the individual receives, not just for their medical care, can impact on the outcome for the individual.
“The cancer experience survey asks questions that cover each stage, from diagnosis to hospital care to home support. I would encourage all those who receive a survey to take the time to complete it. The information you provide can help improve services in the future.”
Susan Morris, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said:“Macmillan is delighted that the Welsh Government is conducting an all-Wales cancer patient experience survey.
“It is the first time such a comprehensive survey of cancer patients’ experiences of care has been conducted in Wales and Macmillan is really pleased to be a partner in this important initiative.
“It is vitally important to measure survival rates and cancer waiting times targets, but it is equally important to find out what patients really think about the quality of the care they receive.
“Local health boards must take the survey’s results into consideration to inform planning for future cancer services to make sure these services meet people’s clinical and non-clinical needs and that they are truly person-centred.”
Fellow cancer charities welcomed the publication of the survey.
Dr Rachel Iredale, director of Tenovus’ cancer support Team, said: “We welcome any attempt to improve service delivery by asking patients about their experiences.
“We know from our own experience that feedback is vital. We recently surveyed over 1,600 people who use our services and we can clearly see certain issues emerging.
“These include the quality of care patients receive from the NHS, the need for their care to be closer to their home and that patients want to be viewed and cared for as a whole person, not just their cancer, with support for the whole family which continues beyond their treatment.”