Patient help

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I’m responding to the cancer patient experience survey for England released on July 5.

Macmillan estimates that, among those who felt they needed it, 41% of cancer patients in the North East say that they didn’t receive adequate information about the potential long-term side effects as a result of their cancer treatment.

Patients may be unaware of debilitating side effects such as heart conditions, incontinence or infertility and, as such, are unlikely to have guidance on where to get support.

More than 63% of patients say that they never received a care plan which sets out the patient’s treatment and which could include information on potential side effects and where they can get vital support.

Macmillan has always believed that the patient’s voice should inform the direction of travel for cancer care.

According to this year’s patient experience survey, it seems cancer patients are having a good overall experience of care in the North East, even though there are still concerns.

For example, although 46% of cancer patients say that they didn’t always find someone on the hospital staff to talk to, 95% say that they were told whom to contact after leaving the hospital if they had worries.

Everyone with cancer has different needs.

Some may require support with long-term side effects, others with mental health issues or money worries.

Macmillan has been working on helping ensure that no one faces cancer alone.

It is vital that cancer patients have a good experience of care from the moment they experience symptoms, through treatment, and for as long as they need.

We understand that sustainable change in the healthcare system takes time so we will continue to work with patients in the North East and in partnership with our local NHS and hospitals, local authorities and surgeries to improve patient experience.

Macmillan is developing bespoke solutions that meet the specific needs of the area.

We hope that this new data and information will serve as one more way to improve even more.

Paul McCavana,

Head of Services - North of England,

Macmillan Cancer Support,

Fawcett Street,

York.