Care is great...but is missing human touch

Galloway Community Hospital
Galloway Community Hospital

A national survey has found cancer patients in Galloway overwhelmingly say they are happy with their treatment but many are missing out on much-needed emotional, financial and practical support.

The Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support study showed that 90% of all those surveyed in the region rated their care as “positive.”

However, this was five per cent less than the national satisfaction rate throughout Scotland.

The vast majority - 99% of respondents in Dumfries and Galloway - felt they were always treated with dignity and respect by the nurses and doctors while 93% were given access to a cancer nurse specialist.

Overall, the survey found areas for improvement with many people in Dumfries and Galloway still missing out on support over and above their medical treatment.

Among those who wanted it, 73% felt they got enough care and support from health and social care services during treatment but this dropped to just 62% after treatment.

Only 55% of people felt they had been completely supported emotionally and psychologically by healthcare professionals during treatment and just 57% of those who wanted financial and benefits advice were offered it.

The survey also found 28% said healthcare professional didn’t give someone close to them all the information they needed to care for them at home, while 20% said they were only given this information to “some extent”.

Only 32% of people with cancer in Dumfries and Galloway said they had been given a care plan - despite the previous survey showing patients who had a care plan had a more positive experience of almost every aspect of cancer care.

Commenting on the survey, Macmillan’s head in 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 an earlier survey.

“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.”

A Dumfries and Galloway NHS spokesman replied: “We’re pleased that people say they have experienced a good quality of care.

“We are mindful of the post-treatment support which is often needed and always looking to see how this can be developed and improved.”