Survey shows some Forth Valley cancer patients are missing out on vital support

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A national survey has found that while many Forth Valley cancer patients feel satisfied with their care, others are missing out on much-needed emotional, financial and practical support.

Around 5000 patients across Scotland took part in the audit, carried out by the Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The aim was to find out how patients felt about the way they were cared for and supported as they moved through the cancer care system.

In the Forth Valley region 94 per cent rated their care as positive, with the vast majority of local respondents (95 per cent) feeling they were always treated with dignity and respected by nurses and doctors.

However, the survey also found areas for improvement, with many people missing out on emotional, practical and financial support.

Sixty-two per cent of patients felt they got enough care and support from health and social care services during treatment, which reduced to just 54 per cent after treatment.

Only 60 per cent of people felt they had been completely supported emotionally and psychologically by healthcare professionals during treatment and just 63 per cent of those who wanted financial and benefits advice were actually offered it.

The survey also found 26 per cent said those close to them were not given information they needed to care for them at home and only 39 per cent of people with cancer in Forth Valley said they had been given a care plan.

It was further revealed that just 68 per cent were offered all the practical advice and support they needed to deal with the side effects of cancer treatment while 23 per cent said they did not completely understand their diagnosis.

Although 90 per cent of respondents felt they were diagnosed sensitively, seven per cent felt they could have been told “a bit more” sensitively and 3 per cent “a lot more” sensitively.

Commenting on the survey results, head of Macmillan Scotland, Janice Preston, said: “It’s great news that people overwhelming rate their experience of care as good, and it’s positive to see there have been some areas of improvement from the first survey.

“However, it’s clear the emotional, practical and financial needs of many people are still not being met.

“It’s particularly disappointing to see most people still aren’t receiving care plans, despite the positive impact we know they have on people’s care.

“Cancer can affect every aspect of life, causing problems from debt to depression. Too many people don’t know where to turn for support and as this survey shows, they’re often not getting this information from the cancer care system.

“We know staff work extremely hard and try to do everything they can to help, but until everyone with cancer in Scotland is guaranteed a care plan and personalised support, some people and some needs will continue to fall through the cracks.”

Macmillan Cancer Support is urging anyone with cancer who needs help to get in touch with them via their face to face support services, online community or on their support line on 0808 808 0000.