Patient Perspectives: How do outpatient cancer clinics perform?
This report summarises experiences and outcomes of care for 3,706 NSW patients who visited a public outpatient cancer clinic during February or March 2015.
- 92% of patients said they would speak highly of the clinic to their friends and family.
- 12% of patients said they experienced a complication related to their clinic visit. Of these, 15% said the impact of the complication was very serious.
- Only three-quarters of patients said they were definitely involved in decisions about their care and treatment, as much as they wanted to be.
- Among patients who needed a cancer care plan and had one, only half said they were definitely asked for their ideas and preferences when developing it.
- Of those who attended a clinic for cancer treatment, patients’ confidence in understanding and participating in their own care varied widely across NSW and clinics.
The report is based on information collected using a specifically-designed questionnaire that was sent to 6,467 patients (response rate of 57%).
The incidence of cancer in NSW is widely known – the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer by age 85 is one in two for males and one in three for females.
Reporting on the care of people with cancer has typically focused on impact of treatments, such as survival following a diagnosis of cancer; reception of certain types of services, such as adherence by clinicians to evidence-based guidelines in cancer screening; or on measures of accessibility.
While these are important aspects for healthcare systems to examine, another perspective is missing: in NSW, we know very little about the experiences of people with cancer who are being treated, reviewed or receiving follow-up care. Patients receive such services in NSW public hospitals in outpatient cancer clinics. These clinics provide important and ongoing care, covering combinations of treatment options including anti-cancer drugs, radiation therapy and surgery.
This report describes the feedback provided by more than 3,700 people who responded to a specifically-designed questionnaire about their experiences of care at cancer outpatient clinics and contains the first systematic and detailed information on patient self-efficacy and an assessment of how well their treatment-related symptoms are controlled.
Patients are primary participants in, and witnesses of, the care they receive.
Giving voice to people living with cancer who received advice and treatment in public hospital outpatient clinics, sheds light on the overall performance of hospitals and local health districts in delivering care that responds to their expectations and needs.
It also enables us to assess more specifically, areas where care for people living with cancer could be improved.
Dr Jean-Frédéric Lévesque
Chief Executive, Bureau of Health Information
Professor David Currow
Chief Cancer Officer, NSW
Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Institute NSW