The results of the latest National Cancer Patient Experience Survey have been published, with Dorset scoring an excellent 8.9 out of 10.

The results ranged from 8.3 to 9.2, with a national average of 8.8.

The survey was completed by 1,381 cancer patients in Dorset who have attended Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital or Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospital. It asked for responses on the standard of care these patients received throughout their cancer journey – from initial investigations through to diagnosis, treatment and after-care.

Patients ranked cancer services highly in a range of key areas, with all the Trusts scoring better than was expected nationally based on previous surveys.

• 85% of patients felt that they were given their cancer diagnosis in a sensitive manner.
• 79% of patients definitely felt involved in their care and treatment and trusted all clinical staff they encountered during their care.
• 91% of patients felt that they were always treated with dignity and respect throughout their care.
• 95% of patients said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital.
• 90% of patients felt very supported by their Clinical Nurse Specialist and were able to contact them when needed.

Some responses in the survey identified areas where improvement could be made, a key one being ensuring clear and comprehensive explanations are given to patients about surgical procedures, treatments and side-effects of treatments, particularly in regards to future side-effects patients may experience once treatment has ended.

Each Hospital Trust has reviewed the feedback and is developing plans for any areas requiring improvement.

The Dorset Cancer Patient & Carer Group, an independent group who provide a patient perspective on changes and developments in NHS cancer services in Dorset, are very pleased with the results.

Paula Bull and Morag Day, Chairpersons and longstanding members of the group stated “the survey scores reflect the hard work and dedication of all clinical staff throughout Dorset – in hospitals, GP practices and local community services. As current and previous cancer patients ourselves, we have experienced first-hand the exceptional quality of care and support available in Dorset and are very happy to see that other cancer patients are also receiving this same level of care”.