New quality of life for cancer patients

New plans by NHS England will involve tracking the quality of life for cancer patients to radically improve care and support for sufferers once treatment ends.

The new approach is set to drive improvements in after care which includes tailored plans for people with cancer outlining their physical needs as well as other support they may need, such as help at home or financial advice.

The latest survey shows the vast majority of people with cancer are positive about the NHS care they receive, but there is no measure to assess how well they are supported after treatment.

The new ‘quality of life metric’, which is the first of its kind, will use questionnaires to measure how effective the support is and the data will be made available on My NHS - helping patients, the public, clinicians and health service providers see how well their local after care cancer support is doing.

The first pilot sites were announced at the NHS Expo and include: Cheshire and Merseyside; Northern Cancer Alliance; East of England; North Central & North East London; and Wessex. They will run between September 2017 and early 2019.

Work is also being undertaken to ensure patients receive support during their treatment and those patients who are most likely to need help once their treatment finishes, including the Recovery Package which helps to ensure patients have more personal care and support from the point they are diagnosed, and care after cancer treatment, which patients will have once treatment is finished.

Chris Harrison, NHS England’s national clinical director for cancer, said: “Cancer survival rates are at a record high, with latest data showing an estimated 7,000 more people surviving cancer after NHS treatment compared with three years previous.

“One of our key ambitions is to put cancer patient experience front and centre. Everyone is unique, with different views and priorities, so it’s vital that they receive personalised support, this new measure will help ensure local NHS can see where things are going well and where improvements can be made.”

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