Cancer services improving at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals

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CANCER services at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals have improved, according to the results of a patient survey.

According to the national Cancer Patient Experience Survey, people receiving cancer care at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust were far more satisfied with the way they were treated than the last time the survey was carried out in 2010.

The improved responses from patients at the trust – which runs Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s in Chichester – also compared well with other trusts across the country.

There were 64 questions in the survey, carried out between September-November 2011. Compared to the last survey, Western Sussex Hospitals saw big improvements on 16 of the questions. Only four other trusts nationally – out of more than 150 – achieved more large increases.

This time, the trust was not rated in the bottom 20 per cent for any questions, whereas a year earlier it was in the bottom 20 per cent for more than a quarter of the questions. Of more than 600 responses, 89 per cent of patients rated overall care as “excellent” or “very good”. The patients saying they were offered a choice of types of treatments rose from 77 per cent to 85 per cent and the number of patients saying they had confidence and trust in the doctors treating them leapt from 81 per cent to 87 per cent.

Since last year’s results, the trust has opened an information service for cancer patients at Worthing Hospital, and the Macmillan information and support service at St Richard’s has been fully established.

Clinical staff have been given access to advanced communication skills training, and the trust is unusual in that it has a clinical nurse specialist – the patient’s first point of contact for all aspects of their illness – for every different tumour group.

Cathy Stone, director of nursing and patient safety at the trust, said: “These findings show we have listened, and that patients have noticed the improvements. We need to support our patients, as well as treat them, and these survey findings show that we are making real progress.”