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Lack of training leaves 63% of carers 'distressed'

Macmillan Cancer Support surveyed over 2,000 carers to find out how they were coping with helping to treat a patient on a day-to-day basis.

The health charity found:

  • Of those with no or inadequate training, 63% had been left feeling distressed.
  • And 50% said caring for a loved one with cancer left them feeling frightened.
  • Over one in three, 34%, worried their loved one would need to take a trip to the hospital.
  • Of those who perform healthcare tasks, 36% have had to urgently call a doctor or 999 to get support or advice on how to help the person they care for.

Macmillan: Carers feeling helpless without training

Carers tending to a cancer sufferer are performing tasks they are not trained to do properly and often feel overwhelmed, a leading health charity has found.

Many carers struggle to administer injections because they have not been trained to use a syringe, Macmillan Cancer Support has found. Credit: PA

Around 240,000 people care for a cancer patient who will require injections, a catheter and a change of bandages but 53% of those say they have had little or no instruction from a healthcare professional.

One in five, 21%, cancer carers who had received some training said it was not enough.

Macmillan is now calling for changes to be made to the care bill, which was discussed in the House of Lords last week, to ensure the NHS in England supports cancer carers.


Chief nursing officer: Care and compassion a priority

Commenting on research conducted for Macmillan Cancer Support, Jane Cummings, NHS England's chief nursing officer, said: "I am committed to taking action to make sure that all patients receive the highest standard of care and that they are always treated with compassion and dignity.

NHS England's chief nursing officer says she is committed to ensuring quality care and compassion for patients. Credit: Press Assocation

"Our Compassion in Practice strategy sets out exactly how we can deliver the '6Cs' - care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. These are the core elements of our vision."

She said compassion "comes naturally to the overwhelming majority of staff," but added: "Sadly some people do not have the capacity to be compassionate and caring despite training and support. They have no place in the NHS.

"We only want staff who come to work to make a difference for their patients and are prepared to take personal responsibility for individuals in their care."

Macmillan: Hospital culture 'puts targets over care'

Research commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support, of 2,217 adults living with cancer about their hospital treatment found a "lack of basic care, dignity and respect" for some patients, according to the charity.

The lack of basic care, dignity and respect experienced by cancer patients in hospital is shocking.

Giving patients a positive experience when they're in hospital is as important as good medical care but sadly there's still a culture in some hospitals where hitting targets is put before the compassionate care of patients.

– Mike Hobday of Macmillan Cancer Support

Poll surveys cancer patients' treatment in hospital

A YouGov survey, commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support, of 2,217 adults living with cancer found 18,000 patients have their medical files lost every year in hospitals.

Other findings of the poll included:

  • Just over one in five patients had felt patronised by hospital staff
  • 15 percent of patients said they had felt humiliated by the nurses treating them at some point
  • 14 percent of cancer patients who requested help to go to the toilet said they were forced to wait at least 30 minutes for assistance

18,000 cancer patients' files lost every year

Around 18,000 cancer patients have their medical files lost every year in hospitals, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Around 18,000 cancer patients have their medical files lost every year, research has found. Credit: Press Assocation

A poll for the charity found 11 percent of cancer patients admitted to English hospitals every year have their medical file lost by a doctor or nurse.

The charity estimates around 18,000 of the 170,000 patients admitted to hospital have their file lost, which could impact on treatment.


Charity: Cancer has risen by more than a third

Macmillan Cancer Support has found that the proportion of people who will develop cancer at some point in their lives has increased by more than a third over the past two decades.

  • In 1992, 32% of people who died that year had been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives and by 2010, this had risen to 44%
  • The number who get cancer who don't die from the disease has increased by 67% over the past 20 years, in 1992, around one in five people diagnosed with cancer died from another cause, and by 2010, this had risen to more than one in three

The charity also found growing evidence that many cancer patients do not return to full health after treatments.

Charity: 'Serious note of caution' for cancer rise

Macmillan Cancer Support's chief medical officer Professor Jane Maher said the fact that we liver longer as a nation and the improvement of cancer treatment are "things to celebrate".

She added that there was, however, a "need to add a serious note of caution:"

The more successful we are with treatment and cure, the more people we have living with the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment.

Many patients can be left with physical health and emotional problems long after treatment has ended. People struggle with fatigue, pain, immobility, or an array of other troublesome side-effects.

We need to manage these consequences for the sake of the patient, but also for the sake of the taxpayer. We should plan to have more services to help people stay well at home, rather than waiting until they need hospital treatment.

Almost half UK will be diagnosed with cancer by 2020

Almost half the number of people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer by the year 2020, a charity has warned.

Macmillan Cancer Support said the stark rise in the number of people who get, and survive, cancer poses a "herculean" challenge to the NHS.

Rise in cancer will provide a 'herculean' challenge for the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support said Credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

The charity added that although almost one in two people are expected to get the disease, around four in 10 patients (38%) will not die from it.

The research was conducted from existing data on cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality, and found that the number of people who will develop cancer has increased by more than a third over the past two decades.

Growing problem of cancer costs 'can't be ignored'

Cancer patients who work and those with children fork out an average monthly cost twice as high as those who are not in work or who do not have any children, a Macmillan spokeswoman has said.

This new research shows that cancer comes with a whopping price tag for many patients.

Combined with the current recession and with welfare cuts, the cost of the disease is hitting the most vulnerable hardest.

With the number of people living with cancer in the UK doubling from two to four million by 2030, this is a growing problem which cannot be ignored.

Cancer costs the equivalent of a second mortgage. We must act now to protect the financially vulnerable from having to foot the bill for their illness.

– Macmillan chief executive Ciaran Devane
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