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National Cancer Patient Experience Survey

Everyone should be treated with care and compassion and be an equal partner in their care from the moment they see their GP with worries about cancer. We are absolutely committed to making sure patient experience is always considered as important as clinical effectiveness and safety.

Every year, NHS England runs a large survey, inviting a sample of about 120,000 people who recently had cancer treatment in hospital to take part. It is called the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey. This year the survey will invite a sample of people who have had treatment in April, May and June 2021 to give feedback. Questionnaires are posted out from late autumn onwards and the findings of the research are published in summer 2022.

About two-thirds of people reply overall, but responses are lower from people from BME backgrounds compared to white British people. To encourage more people from BME backgrounds to take part, the invitation pack includes information about completing the questionnaire online or over the telephone via a free helpline. A translator can be provided for people who prefer one. People can also ask a friend or family member to help them complete the form as long as the responses are about the patient’s care.

Questions include those about how and when people’s cancer was diagnosed, how involved they felt in decisions about their care and treatment, how much information they were given, whether they were treated with dignity and respect, and experiences of the level of support given by various NHS services and by social services.

The findings for each area allow healthcare providers and commissioners to see how they are doing and where they need to improve. National data help track how much progress is being made on objectives set out in the national Cancer Strategy Implementation Plan.

Why feedback is important?

Feedback from people who have experienced cancer care and treatment is a vital part of improving services. It helps to identify what’s working well and what needs to be improved. That makes things better for everyone.