Where we miss out, by cancer sufferers

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EXPERIENCE of cancer patients in Calderdale varies widely, according to a recent survey.

Answers to more than ten per cent of questions asked of local patients scored Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) in the worst 20 per cent of trusts nationally.

The survey was carried out by Quality Health, a contractor for independent watchdog the Care Quality Commission, and quizzed 68,000 patients nationally, including 458 treated by the CHFT.

Just 38 per cent of local cancer patients said they had been given information on financial help by hospital staff, scoring it in the lowest 20 per cent of trusts.

The trust also received among the lowest 20 per cent of scores for patients being told they could bring a friend when first finding out they had cancer, finding it easy to contact their clinical nurse specialist, and getting undestandable answers to questions most of the time.

Further low results were given to questions including; the clinical nurse specialist ‘definitely listening carefully’ to the patient last time they spoke, time spent with clinical nurse specialist being ‘about right’, staff explaining how operation had gone in an understandable way, patients family definitely had the opportunity to talk to a doctor and the family were deinitely given all the information needed to help care at home.

In all, the trust received among the lowest 20 per cent of scores for nine out of 67 questions.

Patients however praised trusts for written information they were given about their cancer, patients clearly understanding what was wrong, their admission date not being changed by the hospital and for staff doing everything they could to control the side-effects of chemotherapy.

A spokesperson for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: “The survey highlights areas of cancer care where we are performing very well, showing high levels of good practice and patient satisfaction.

“This is reflected in the positive comments made by many patients.

“It is acknowledged there are areas for improvement and plans are in place to ensure changes are made so our aim of providing high quality cancer care for patients and their families cab be maintained.”