Scots cancer patients have their say on care

Majority of Scots rate their care highly, although just under half found emotional support lacking

Tuesday 30th April 2019

While 95% of Scots rated their experience of cancer care highly, 45% did not feel they had enough emotional and psychological support during their treatment, a survey jointly funded by the Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support has found. 

Part of a national programme, the Scottish cancer patient experience survey aims to identify gaps in health and care services through the patient’s perspective, from the point an individual thought something may be wrong to the support received after diagnosis and treatment.

Just over 5,000 of the 8,000 patients asked responded to the survey, which concluded in December.

Among the findings, 83% thought their first appointment with a hospital doctor ‘was as soon as necessary’, while 86% felt they had all the information they needed before their first diagnostic test.

Consistent with the findings of the 2015 survey, 86% of people felt the news they had cancer was delivered in a sensitive way, while 76% felt the results were explained in a way they could understand.

Elsewhere, 55% of patients felt they had been ‘completely supported emotionally and psychologically by healthcare professionals during their cancer treatment’.

People were also less positive about receiving information on financial help and benefits, while only 52% said those helping care for them at home had been given useful information.

When deciding on the best course of treatment, 87% said they felt their options were completely explained before embarking on a course of action.

Although respondents were largely positive about possible immediate side-effects being explained in a way they could understand and being offered practical advice on coping with them, fewer people reported they were told about potential future side effects.

Despite this, 95% said they were told who to contact if they felt worried after leaving hospital, and 94% of people responded positively about their experiences of person-centred care whilst in hospital.

Read more here on reactions to the survey.