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We must improve cancer patient experience

2014.07.21_Macmillan_-_dignity_for_cancer_patients.jpgI supported Macmillan Cancer Support's campaign to improve cancer patient care by attending a Parliamentary event with people affected by cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support is urging all Westminster parties to prioritise cancer ahead of the next general election and commit to ensuring all cancer patients are treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect in their manifestos. The charity is also calling on parties to support NHS staff to deliver this aim.

At the event, I was presented with a copy of Macmillan’s briefing paper –  Dignity must not be denied: putting cancer patients at the heart of the General Election 2015 - which outlines the current issues with cancer patient experience and Macmillan’s proposed solutions for addressing them. I also had the opportunity to meet people affected by cancer who were able to outline their own experience and why being treated with dignity and respect is so important to them.

Macmillan believes that every person diagnosed with cancer should be treated with dignity and respect throughout their cancer journey. However, the sad reality is that many people have a poor experience of care as shown in the results of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey. 

The survey provides insights into the care and treatment experienced by cancer patients in 155 NHS Hospital Trusts across England. Last year’s results shows that some patients:

  • Are not being asked what name they want to be called by
  • Report that the people treating and caring for them are not always working well together
  • Are not being given written information on their condition or their operation
  • Feel they are not involved in decisions about their treatment.

All cancer patients in Ealing Southall should be treated with dignity, respect, care and compassion. The vast majority of NHS staff work incredibly hard caring for and supporting cancer patients. However, the quality of patient experience is clearly lacking in some cases. Macmillan's campaign aims to drive improvements in care and I am very proud to support it. The time is now to prioritise patient experience in the NHS.

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