CANCER patients in Gwent are broadly satisfied with their care and treatment – but mirroring the situation across Wales, there is plenty of room for improvement, a new report reveals.

The Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey for 2013 gathered the views of more than 7,300 patients throughout Wales, including over 270 in Gwent, on a range of issues from their contact with their GPs, through consultations with specialists, diagnostic tests, treatment, and aftercare.

Particular focus was placed on whether they felt they were being told enough about their cancer and treatment, whether they understood what they were being told, the attitude of staff, whether there were enough staff and whether they felt they were given sufficient support.

The survey results revealed variations in the quality of service and care between health boards and between individual hospitals.

In Gwent, a lower percentage of patients (78 per cent) than average – based on all the results from Wales’ seven health boards and Velindre NHS Trust – thought staff gave a complete explanation of the purpose of diagnostic tests, while the 79 per cent of Gwent patients who believed they were given easy to understand written information about tests was the lowest in Wales.

Satisfaction in Gwent was also the lowest in Wales in terms of whether patients considered they had received a complete explanation of test results, and at 73 per cent the percentage of those who completely understood the explanation of what was wrong with them was also the lowest.

Gwent’s health board fared above average however, in terms of patients feeling they had been given a choice of different types of cancer treatment, and three-quarters of patients surveyed in Gwent believed their views were definitely taken into account when treatment was discussed, the highest percentage in Wales.

The health board also scored well in terms of patients being given the name of the clinical nurse specialist in charge of their care, and in terms of how that specialist interacted with their patients.

Cancer patients in Gwent showed the most trust and confidence in all doctors, with 91 per cent stating this.