25 July 2018
The national report from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2017 (NCPES) was published on 27th July 2018.
The NCPES is a national questionnaire which aims to capture the experiences of cancer patients treated within a three-month window in NHS hospitals throughout England. The sample for the survey included all adult NHS patients, with a confirmed diagnosis of cancer, discharged after an inpatient episode or day case attendance for cancer-related treatment in the months of April, May and June 2017. It is commissioned and managed by NHS England but the specialist health survey company, Quality Health is responsible for managing and analysing the survey.
Compared to the 2016 survey, there were significant improvements on 21 questions; scores deteriorated significantly on 1; and there was no significant difference on 30. This shows a further improvement on the already high level of satisfaction experienced by patients with cancer in England. This is illustrated by the fact that when asked to give an overall rating of their care on a scale of zero (very poor) to 10 (very good), 8.80 was the average rating from respondents. This is significantly higher than last year’s rating of 8.74.
However, within this very positive set of results there are areas where improvements could be achieved. Key areas of the survey were analysed in order to determine if there are differences in experience by gender, ethnicity, age, deprivation and across tumour groups.
Speaking generally, men have a higher rating of satisfaction than women with the biggest difference being in the perception of how much care and support patients were given from health or social services once cancer treatment was finished. 48% of men reported a positive experience compared to 42% of women.
In terms of ethnicity, people who describe themselves as ‘white’ have a generally more positive experience of cancer care than people who describe themselves as being of non-white ethnicity. The largest variation being in the perception of how much care and support patients were given from health or social services once cancer treatment was finished, with white people reporting a 46% satisfaction and black people reporting 31% satisfaction.
In addition, younger people are likely to have a lower rate of satisfaction than older people, particularly with their understanding of explanations of their illness. 77% of patients aged 75-85 years were happy with the explanation of their illness compared with only 60% of 16-24 year olds.
Across tumour groups patients with brain tumours are likely to experience the lowest levels of satisfaction, whilst those with melanoma are likely to report the highest.
The only area nationally to show a significant deterioration since the last survey was in the level of support patients experienced from GPs and nurses at their general practice. In 2017 60% thought that their general practice did everything they could to support them while they were having cancer treatment which was significantly lower than the previous year’s score of 62%.
In summary, the national picture shows further improvements in the experience of cancer patients but within this there are variations according to age, ethnicity, gender and tumour type. This would illustrate that there should be a national focus in work to improve experience within all sectors of society.
Within a few weeks there will be the publication of separate reports giving a breakdown of results by Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts and, for the first time, by Cancer Alliance.
The full report can be found HERE