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18,000 cancer patient files lost

Around 18,000 cancer patients have their medical files lost every year in hospitals, while more suffer humiliation at the hands of nurses, research suggests.

A poll for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support found 11% of cancer patients admitted to English hospitals every year have their medical file lost by a doctor or nurse. The charity estimates around 18,000 of the 170,000 admitted to hospital have their file lost, which could impact on treatment.

The YouGov survey of 2,217 adults living with cancer also revealed that just more than one in five (21%) had felt patronised by hospital staff. Some 15% of patients said they had felt humiliated by the nurses treating them at some point.

One in seven (14%) cancer patients who requested help to go to the toilet said they were forced to wait at least 30 minutes for assistance and 1% were left for at least two hours, the survey revealed.

Some 12% of patients said they had a toilet accident while waiting for help.

The poll also found that one in 10 patients staying overnight in hospital was examined on an open ward or with the curtain round their bed partly open.

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "The lack of basic care, dignity and respect experienced by cancer patients in hospital is shocking.

"Giving patients a positive experience when they're in hospital is as important as good medical care but sadly there's still a culture in some hospitals where hitting targets is put before the compassionate care of patients."

Mr Hobday called on NHS England not to scrap the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, which is under review.

"The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey has been hugely effective as a warning system for hospitals to improve their care. It is vital that it continues. Not only is it an essential way to drive improvements in cancer care, but it also provides a voice for thousands of cancer patients."


From Belfast Telegraph