Trial of quality-of-life metric for people recovering from cancer treatment

A way of measuring quality of life following cancer treatment to be trialled in a bid to improve care

A way of measuring quality of life following cancer treatment is to be trialled in a bid to improve care.

Patient questionnaires will inform tailored care packages.  Picture: iStock

Ten trusts will trial a quality-of-life metric between now and early 2019. The plan has been welcomed by Macmillan Cancer Support.

NHS England said the latest national survey showed patients were generally positive about their experience during treatment, but there was no measure for quality of life post-treatment, despite more people surviving cancer than ever before.

Data on quality of life will be collected in two questionnaires, one generic and one cancer-specific.

Personalised support

NHS England hopes to achieve care improvements through personalised recovery packages developed by the patient and healthcare professional. These will take account not only of physical needs, but social and financial factors too.

It also wants to alter the approach to follow-up appointments, tailoring them to whether individuals require intensive clinical support or feel confident to manage their own care.

Difficulties following treatment

Macmillan Cancer Support estimates 625,000 people in the UK experience poor health or disability following cancer treatment. Of these, 350,000 people have chronic fatigue and a similar number face sexual difficulties.

The charity’s treatment and recovery adviser David Bell said: ‘Surviving cancer is not the same as living well, and time and time again I hear people describe the sense of falling off a cliff when they have finished treatment.’

He said improvement would only be achieved if recovery packages were fully funded and adopted across the NHS.

The pilot providers are:

  • Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.
  • St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
  • Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
  • The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Barts Health NHS Trust.
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

In other news

This article is for subscribers only