Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed that as many as 120,000 patients a year feel that topics including treatments and side effects were not fully explained to them, making them feel “left in the dark”.
In the charity’s annual Cancer Patient Experience Survey, 39% of patients responded saying the longer-term side-effects of treatment were not fully explained to them - a number equating to around 120,000 people a year. Further, around a quarter of patients surveyed said they did not have the possible side effects explained prior to the start of treatment.
Lacking this sort of vital information may make the patient “feel uncertain about treatment, feel forced to give up a job or feel unsure about how to prepare for the impact cancer might have on them physically, financially and emotionally”, explained Macmillan.
The charity cited “soaring” pressures on the NHS, leaving staff table to provide the appropriate care for patients.
At the end of last year, The Health Foundation’s workforce trends report revealed the extent of the vacancies within the NHS, highlighting the disparity between staff and growing demands in the new “sobering” information.
Nursing was highlighted as a key area of shortage and pressure across the organisation, with nursing vacancies increasing to almost 44,000 in the first quarter of 2019/20, which is equivalent to 12% of the nursing workforce. Because of this, the gap between the number of full-time nurses that are needed to keep up with demand and those available to the NHS could grow to 100,000 in a decade’s time, as projected by the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust.
Around the same time The NHS Confederation and other health leaders across the UK urged the incoming Government to “address the critical issues that will improve and transform services for patients,” warning that a lack of staffing and failure to address the pensions crisis is putting care at risk.
The first Cancer Patient Experience Survey was conducted in England in 2010. Since then, around 70,000 patients have taken part every year.