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Cancer services patient experience in England: quantitative and qualitative analyses of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date29/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Objectives: To examine patients’ responses to the English National Cancer Patient Experience Survey to understand what proportions of patients give positive and negative feedback, and to identify themes in responses which drive evaluations. Methods: Data comprise 214 340 survey responses (quantitative ratings and free-text comments) dated 2015–2018. The proportions of patients giving each quantitative rating (0–10) are compared and free-text comments are analysed using computer-assisted linguistic methods in order to ascertain frequent thematic drivers of positive and negative feedback. Results: Patients were most likely to give a most positive score of 10 (38.25%), while the overwhelming majority (87.12%) gave a score between 8 and 10. Analysis of 1000 positive comments found that most respondents (54%) praised staff’s interpersonal skills. Other frequent themes of positive feedback included treatment standards, staff’s communication skills, speed of diagnosis and treatment, and staff members’ technical competence. The most prominent themes in the negative comments were communication skills, treatment standards and waiting times for appointments and test/scan results, and delays and cancellations to appointments and operations. Conclusion: Standards of treatment and staff’s communication skills are prominent themes of positive and negative feedback. Staff’s interpersonal skills are more likely to be praised than criticised, while negative feedback is more likely to focus on issues around time (ie, delays and long waits). Clarity and honesty in communication about the lengths and causes of waits and delays are likely to increase patient satisfaction.