Care for cancer patients at hospital criticised in survey

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CANCER patients have criticised care given by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in a survey.

The trust received a ‘red flag’ for almost half of the questions – 49 per cent – asked in the latest National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.

In total 778 people treated for cancer by the trust – which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and some services at St Mary’s Hospital in Milton – between January and April last year responded to the questionnaire.

On 33 of the 67 questions Portsmouth Hospitals Trust received a ‘red flag’ – ranking it in the bottom 20 per cent of 158 acute hospitals trusts providing cancer services included in the survey.

In total only 46 per cent of patients who responded to a question about nursing said there were always or nearly always enough nurses on duty.

And only 56 per cent of patients who answered a question about emotional support from staff said they felt they received enough.

The trust was also ranked in the bottom 20 per cent for the way in which patients were told they had cancer – despite 81 per cent of respondents saying they felt they were told sensitively enough.

And just under a third of respondents – 62 per cent – said they were definitely involved in decisions about their cancer care provided by the trust.

However 95 per cent of patients who answered a question about their doctor said they spent enough time with them.

And 91 per cent of respondents said staff told them who to contact if they had any concerns after being discharged.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s cancer services were centralised at QA hospital from St Mary’s Hospital and Haslar Hospital in Gosport in the 2009.

Simon Holmes, Medical Director at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘The Patient Experience Survey took place more than a year ago, and asked patients about a time in their treatment that was shortly after we moved to the new hospital, which we recognise could have been an unsettling experience and meant that some services had to be provided in a new way.

‘However since then we have identified key issues that should be addressed and have made some significant progress already, for example waiting times in our chemotherapy Unit have reduced. We will also be moving forward with regard to Information Prescriptions and hope to have better access to advanced communications skills training.’

He added: ‘The quality of care provided by the trust and the patient experience has always been, and remains, our highest priority and we are always trying to improve our services.

‘Whilst noting some disappointing results, we are pleased that the majority of patients surveyed were satisfied with their cancer care and that we continue to receive many positive plaudits from patients about their clinical care and the services they receive.

‘However we are not complacent and we will continue to develop our services to make them more efficient and more beneficial for our patients.’