Health written question – answered on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of using (a) the results of the national cancer patient experience surveys and (b) the friends and family test to improve the experience of cancer patients in the NHS.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The national report and 160 bespoke trust level reports from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2011-12 were published in August 2012. These have been made widely available to drive and inform local service improvement. The trust level reports provide benchmarked data nationally and between teams so that priority improvement areas can be identified. We are aware that a number of trusts have produced action plans based on the results of the surveys.

The National Cancer Action Team has been working with Cancer Networks to drive service improvements based on the results of the survey. This has included producing the report ‘Improvements in cancer patient experience: how have they been made?’, which will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cancer Patient Experience Advisory Group on 8 March 2013, and then shared widely with trusts.

We have encouraged stakeholders in the third sector to use the survey results to identify and share best practice in patient care and services to support service improvement activity. For example, Macmillan Cancer Support analysed the data and published the 10 best and worst performing trusts in England in 2012, which were also published in the second annual report of ‘Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer’ in December 2012. Macmillan also produced ‘Improving Cancer Patient Experience—A top tips guide’. This document can be found at:

In addition, all the quantitative data from the survey have been sent to the National Data Archive at Essex University and are freely available for access by researchers to undertake a series of analyses under the rules of the archive.

Patient experience is one of three domains of quality alongside effectiveness and safety. This Government is committed to encouraging services to be responsive to patient needs and experiences, and using feedback to make services truly patient-centred.

The Friends and Family test will be implemented nationally from 1 April 2013 for all acute in-patient and accident and emergency (A&E) services. All in-patients and patients in A&E departments will be given the opportunity to answer the simple question ‘How likely are you to recommend our ward/A&E department to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment’.

The test is unique in that it provides frequent, fast (near-real time) feedback, which is comparable from both patients' and NHS staff perspectives. Alongside other feedback, the test will be used by service providers as a tool for improvement; by commissioners and the public to hold services to account; and by patients to inform choice.

Where a cancer patient is either an in-patient or discharged from an A&E department, they will be asked the Friends and Family test; however, the results will not be differentiated by patient diagnosis.

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