Sheffield hospital best in country

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PATIENTS have rated Sheffield’s hospitals among the best in the country for treating cancer, according to a national report.

The city, which has one of the UK’s only specialist cancer hospitals at Weston Park, received top marks for treatment, care, patient involvement and research.

Some 91 per cent of cancer patients surveyed in Sheffield rated their overall cancer care as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ - giving the city one of the highest scores in the country.

The very best performing NHS trust in the UK was only three points higher, with 94 per cent.

Mum-of-three Michelle King, aged 47, from Ecclesfield, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy for breast cancer at the Royal Hallamshire and Weston Park.

But then she began losing her speech - and doctors discovered the cancer had spread to her brain.

Michelle, a psychiatric nurse at the time, required brain surgery.

She said: “All the staff were fantastic, not just during my treatment and time in hospital, but also the after-care and support I received which has helped me no end.

“They saved my life and they really would bend over backwards for you - so I can understand why they had great survey results for patient experience.”

Fellow patient Janet Miles, 59, a mum-of-two from Norton, now works as a volunteer at Weston Park’s cancer support centre after undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

She said: “The hospital staff were really friendly and understanding and worked well as a team to provide the best care possible.

“I wanted to give something back and I now offer my support and share my experiences to help other cancer patients.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals was one of 160 NHS trusts that took part in the 2012 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.

Researchers surveyed 1,241 patients in Sheffield - 811 women and 399 men - covering subjects including emotional support, privacy, how long doctors spent with patients, and how well side-effects were dealt with.

Nine out of 10 patients said they were given a full explanation of their treatment - one of the key issues the Government is trying to improve in hospitals around the country.

Some 91 per cent said they received ‘understandable answers to important questions’, and their doctors ‘listened carefully’ to them.

And nearly half were offered the chance to take part in clinical research.

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “It is great to see that our cancer patients are happy with the care and treatment our hospitals provide.

“Although the report was very positive, we will continue to look for improvements in areas where patient feedback indicates we could do even better.”

The news comes as Macmillan Cancer Care calls for a new strategy to deal with the growing number of people with cancer in Sheffield.

The number of elderly people living with the disease will more than treble by 2040, the charity says, and the city needs to develop new tactics as more people survive the disease long-term.