Cancer patients receiving treatment in North Devon have rated their overall care highly.

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey for 2017 saw the average score for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) come in at 8.87 out of 10.

The overall satisfaction of the 286 patients surveyed in North Devon last year was a slight deterioration on the year before.

But NDHT scored above the national average in a number of questions. Some 95 per cent of patients rated their care as good or very good, and 99 per cent felt they received all the information needed about diagnostic tests.

Suzanne Tracey, chief executive of NDHT, said: “It’s great to see that we are getting lots of things right for cancer patients, from the small touches that really matter to patients, to the big picture that shows patients are having a good experience overall.”

North Devon's new chemotherapy unit: The Seamoor Unit. Picture: Tom Teegan.North Devon's new chemotherapy unit: The Seamoor Unit. Picture: Tom Teegan.

This year’s results showed patients across the country feel trusts need to improve the information shared with them and how this is communicated throughout their cancer journey.

In North Devon, a third of patients gave a response classed as negative when asked if they had been given enough information to understand how their treatment was going.

Suzanne added: “Cancer care can be complex and often patients will need to see another provider for part of their treatment, which can be a barrier to patients getting all the information they need in a timely way.

“We’ve been working closely with other trusts to improve our lines of communication to better support patients, and are addressing what else we can do at NDHT to improve the experience for patients in northern Devon.

The Seamoor Unit.The Seamoor Unit.

“We have a lot of plans in motion and are making good progress, and I hope that next year’s survey results will reflect these improvements.”

NDHT are currently working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support on the Living With and Beyond Cancer project to improve the quality of life for patients in North Devon.

The new Patient Voice group is also involved in Over and Above’s North Devon Cancer and Wellbeing Centre Appeal, which is raising money to build a new centre to support people with cancer and other illnesses, and their loved ones.

The appeal has raised £650,000 of its £1.5million target.