People receiving cancer care in Scotland have rated it highly at a 95% approval rating. The result comes from the Scottish Cancer Patient Experience Survey funded jointly by the Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Janice Preston, Head of Macmillan in Scotland, said:
“It’s great news that people overwhelmingly rate their experience of care as good, and it’s really positive to see there have been some areas of improvement from the first survey.”
Cancer patients gave a lower rating to the support they received for their emotional and psychological needs – with only 55% being positive. Support provided by social services both during and after treatment was even lower at 50%.
Janice Preston said:
“It’s clear the emotional, practical and financial needs of many people are still not being met and that some people aren’t receiving care plans, despite the positive impact we know they have on people’s care.
“Cancer can affect every aspect of life, causing problems from debt to depression. It’s essential that people know where to turn for support. Providing everyone with cancer in Scotland with a care plan would ensure people received personalised care and all their individual needs are met.
“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.”
There are mixed messages about the support the Third Sector provides to cancer patients. Over half of the people who needed or wanted it received useful information or support from the third sector. After treatment, this rating dropped to 46% being positive about the services provided by the Third Sector.
The provision of care plans was extremely low with only 30% of people having one and just over half of cancer patients were provided with a written note of all the treatments they received.
A care plan is an agreed plan between an individual and their health or social care professionals which sets out the individual’s needs and goals for caring for his or her cancer. This document is received after diagnosis and may include what treatment has been planned for them and the emotional, practical and financial support they will receive.
An interesting part of the survey, particularly for cancer patients in the islands and more rural areas of Scotland is the problem of travel to receive treatment with time and cost being the most commented on.
Jeane Freeman, Health Secretary in the Scottish Government said:
“Being diagnosed with cancer can be very traumatic for individuals and their families – and it is vital we provide the best possible care.
“That’s why patient feedback is crucial. The results of this survey will support us in making further improvements in cancer care across Scotland and we will work to ensure all patients have the information they need about their treatment and support.
“Our £850 million Waiting Times Improvements Plan will direct significant investment into substantial and sustainable improvements, including diagnostics, which is crucial for cancer care.
“I expect health boards to listen to what people with cancer are saying about what matters to them, and make improvements based on their views.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
As someone actually going through the cancer care system right now I cannot adequately express how highly I rate it. At every stage everyone has been great – Kirkwall MacMillan ward staff / Balfour and Ari have been so caring and reassuring. Every person I’ve dealt with has been perfect. Yes the treatment can be a bit harsh but you have to compare it with what it’s fighting against…. I am lucky that I spotted the signs early and went to the gp immediately. No system can be perfect but my experience certainly has been. I am hugely grateful for all the help and treatment I have received and have nothing but praise for everyone involved.