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Cancer patients praise UHDB colleagues for providing them with the sensitive care they needed

Oncology team at Queen's Hospital

UHDB continues to encourage cancer patients to act if they have any concerns they may have symptoms. This follows the release of a survey that found previous and current cancer patients in Derby and Burton had given the Trust some of the highest scores in the Midlands for the care they received.

The Trust and GPs recognise that there has been a decrease in people visiting their GP with cancer concerns in the wake of Covid-19.

Latest figures show 'two week wait' referrals – requests from GPs for an urgent hospital appointment for a patient who has symptoms that might indicate cancer – are now at around 85% of pre-Covid-19 levels.

In addition, many patients will have had their treatment disrupted, due to the risk Covid-19 has posed to them individually.

UHDB hopes that the survey scores will encourage and reassure members of the public who have symptoms to seek treatment.

Mike Goodwin, Divisional Director of Cancer, Diagnostics and Clinical support, said: “The last few months have been a challenge for people with both suspected or confirmed cancer. Some patients who are at high risk will have had their treatment affected and we have had to adapt our services in response to Covid-19.

"However, these survey results demonstrate the hard work of all of the staff who work in our cancer services, so we’d like to reinforce the message to anyone concerned to contact their GP about any worrying symptoms that they might have and seek treatment. We have continued to provide comprehensive cancer diagnostic and treatment services, including surgery, where it was safe to do so, so don’t hesitate to contact your GP if you have any worries about symptoms associated with cancer.”

More than 1,200 patients took part in the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey last year. They scored the Trust significantly above the expected standards in six of the indicators, including that they felt they were told sensitively that they had cancer; more than any other Trust in the Midlands.

Patients who took part in the survey scored highly in areas such as privacy when discussing a condition or treatment, staff definitely doing everything they could to help control pain and them being given a care plan.

Our patients also said that there had been a significant improvement in the number who had been given a specific clinical nurse specialist who would support them through their treatment.

Reassuringly, there were no areas where cancer patients said that care had deteriorated.

The survey, which was conducted in 2019 but released in June 2020, did identify areas where care could improve, including signposting to information and how approachable doctors were to inpatients and their families.

Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive, said: “It’s vital that we listen and act on what our patients tell us. It is hugely reassuring to know that patients have scored us highly compared to other trusts in the Midlands.

"A cancer diagnosis is a distressing and anxious time for the patients and their families, so we’re thankful that our patients say this is being done as sensitively as possible. These results are from just a year after the merger, which was an incredibly challenging time for our clinicians, which makes the results that much more satisfying and I’d like to thank all our staff in our cancer services for the care they provide.

"I would reiterate to all those in our communities to seek help from their GP if they are concerned about symptoms they may have.”