Cancer patients say North East hospitals are among best

Data shows cancer patients in the North East are receiving some of the best support and care in England

Carolyn Harper, head of cancer services (left), with colorectal support nurse Caroline McGregor at Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Carolyn Harper, head of cancer services (left), with colorectal support nurse Caroline McGregor at Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Patients have rated cancer services in the North East among the best in the country for care and support.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust came first in a league table measuring patient experience across England, according to new figures released by the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

The league table compares the performance of hospitals based on measures of patients’ experiences while being treated in hospital.

Cancer services were rated on issues such as whether a patient felt their diagnosis and treatment options were explained clearly to them; whether they felt supported in their care and whether they felt they were treated with respect.

Carolyn Harper, head of cancer services at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been ranked by our patients as the top performing hospital in the country for cancer experience.

“It is extremely humbling that this accolade has come directly from our patients and is something we are very proud to have achieved.

“It demonstrates that the hard work and commitment of all our dedicated staff involved in delivering cancer services is recognised and appreciated by our patients and their faith in us. We have been ranked within the top five of this survey for the past three years running.

“And the challenge now is to ensure that we remain within this position in the future.”

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust were also ranked within the top 10 in the country.

Lorraine Lambert, chief executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Positive patient experience, which includes being treated with dignity and respect and being given the opportunity to discuss treatment choices, is linked to improved outcomes.

“So it is vital that we get it right and this latest research demonstrates that we are doing that.”

Christine Keen, director of commissioning for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team of NHS England, added: “It’s fantastic to see that three of the trusts in our area have been included in the top 10 nationally for patient experience of cancer services in this analysis by Macmillan.”

Macmillan is launching a new report, Improving Care For People With Cancer.

This includes a number of recommendations for putting cancer patient experience at the heart of the NHS.

Fay Scullion, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Northern England said: “We know that the support and care people receive is as important as their actual treatment.”

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