16 May 2013
***New survey reveals poor care of cancer patients in hospital***
Macmillan Cancer Support’s new figures reveal that six percent1 of the estimated 170,000 cancer patients in England admitted to hospital each year2 for treatment say they are given the wrong drugs. This equates to an estimated 10,000 patients each year whose health could be compromised.
The YouGov survey of 2,142 UK adults living with cancer also reveals that of cancer patients who need it, a third never receive extra food.3
Shockingly, seven percent - equating to an estimated 12,000 cancer patients in England each year4 - felt like dropping out of treatment early because of the way they say hospital staff dealt with them.
More than a third (37%) surveyed said their hospital room or area is not always kept clean and tidy. Lack of food, incorrect drugs and a dirty environment can compromise cancer patients’ health and in extreme cases could hinder their recovery.
Vicky Ayech, 67, breast cancer survivor from Hertfordshire who received treatment in Cambridgeshire said:
'I was taken up to the ward by 8.30pm after my breast removal surgery. I was so hungry as I'd not eaten for 24 hours. I was given a menu but didn't get any food until 11pm and then it was only bread and jam. After such an experience with nurses busy and impatient, I got myself discharged the next morning, earlier than was wise in retrospect'
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
'While most cancer patients get great care most of the time, it is alarming that so many cancer patients are given the wrong drugs, left hungry while being treated in hospital or have even felt like dropping out of treatment because of their interactions with staff.
'This survey sheds a worrying light on the sub-culture within some parts of the NHS where bad patient experience is acceptable. We have seen this at its worst in the case of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust exposed in the Francis Inquiry.
'What staff need is the time and space to truly care for patients and to be given the tools to do this. We are calling on the NHS to adopt our recommendations in this area.'
Macmillan is working with partner organisations to improve patient and staff experience through the Macmillan Values Based Standard recommendations which patients, professionals, family and carers worked together to design. Staff say they provide them with a practical approach to improve patient experience.
The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2013 is due out from June and will highlight which hospital Trusts need to make significant improvements in the patient experience they provide.
If you need information or support, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk
For further information, please contact:
Andrea Shufflebotham, Senior Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4699 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
More information about Macmillan Values Based Standard
This consists of eight behaviours which give patients and staff the support and entitlements that both need to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect in practice. This is vital to patients experiencing high quality care across a range of moments that matter to both patients and staff: from involvement in clinical treatment and decision making, to sensitive communication. Early findings have demonstrated that implementation has led to improvements in patient experience.
1 Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov online survey of 2,142 UK adults living with cancer. Fieldwork conducted 26 November – 14 December 2012. Survey results are unweighted. Results presented are based on the 358 people diagnosed within the last two years who had a stay of one or more nights in hospital during their cancer treatment. The survey question put to patients was: Were you ever given the wrong drugs, or in the wrong form, or dose? By drugs we mean any drugs or medication you may have received as part of your treatment for cancer, or to deal with any symptoms or side effects of treatment.
2 Estimate of number of patients admitted to hospital each year in England for their first definitive cancer treatment comes from: Department of Health provider based quarterly cancer waiting times for 2011-12 (April 2011-March 2012) for patients undergoing first definitive treatment (all cancers) within 31 days or more than 31 days from diagnosis . Quarterly figures aggregated to get an annual figure.
• A patient may have more than one primary cancer for which they received treatment for within the same 12 months and hence may be double counted. Admitted figure includes ordinary admissions and day cases in addition to patients admitted for an overnight stay.
• Using these figures to estimate the number of people who are affected may lead to an overestimate as the figure includes patients who are treated as both day cases and overnight stays.
3 122 of the 358 people diagnosed within the last 2 years who had a stay in hospital say they needed extra food. 69 of these say they did not always get the extra food they needed.
4 Estimate based on number of patients admitted to hospital each year for their first definitive cancer treatment. See note 2 for more detail.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder.
But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible.
Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support