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Vast majority of cancer patients find it easy to contact clinical nurse specialist

Patient survey reveals mainly positive experiences of services despite some disparities
Cancer nurse consultation

Cancer patient survey about care and treatment reveals mainly positive experiences, despite some disparities

Cancer Patient Experience Survey had 67,858 participants

Most cancer patients say they found it easy to contact their clinical nurse specialist (CNS), results from a new survey reveal.

The 2019 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey for England, carried out between December 2019 and March 2020, asked people living with and beyond cancer about all aspects of their care and treatment.

Of the 67,858 people who responded, 92% said they were given a named CNS and of these, 85% found this person very or quite easy to contact.

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Cancer patient survey about care and treatment reveals mainly positive experiences, despite some disparities


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Cancer Patient Experience Survey had 67,858 participants

Most cancer patients say they found it easy to contact their clinical nurse specialist (CNS), results from a new survey reveal. 

The 2019 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey for England, carried out between December 2019 and March 2020, asked people living with and beyond cancer about all aspects of their care and treatment.

Of the 67,858 people who responded, 92% said they were given a named CNS and of these, 85% found this person very or quite easy to contact.

The survey, carried out by international health and social care charity Picker on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, also found that 95% of patients rated their care as seven or above out of ten.

Survey also reveals 'disturbing' disparities in cancer services 

However, the survey also revealed areas that need to be improved:

  • About half (52%) said they were given enough care and support from health and social services.
  • 37% said they were not given information about how to get financial help.
  • Only 38% said they were given a written care plan.

In response to the report, Macmillan Cancer Support’s chief executive officer Lynda Thomas said the disparities are disturbing and must be addressed.

‘It’s integral that anyone diagnosed with cancer is included in detailed conversations about their treatment with healthcare practitioners and that everyone has an active role in decisions about their care, regardless of their background,’ she said.

COVID-19 will have set new challenges for services

Picker chief executive Chris Graham said it was positive that people were having good experiences overall, however it is a concern that there are significant gaps in the care and support that people are given.

‘These survey results provide important insight, and all NHS organisations should take careful note of their findings,’ he said.

However, Mr Graham acknowledged that the survey was carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic and that new challenges will have emerged for cancer services.

View our COVID-19 resource centre


Related material

National Cancer Patient Experience Survey


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