18,000 cancer patients' files are lost every year

Poll reveals one in five has felt patronised by hospital staff

Around 18,000 cancer patients have their medical files lost every year in hospitals, while even more suffer humiliation at the hands of nurses.

A poll for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support found that 11 per cent 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 admitted to hospital have their file lost, which could impact on treatment.

According to its YouGov survey of 2,217 adults living with cancer, just over one in five (21 per cent) had felt patronised by hospital staff. Some 15 per cent of patients said they had felt humiliated by nurses.

One in seven cancer patients who requested help to go to the toilet said they were forced to wait at least 30 minutes for assistance and one per cent were left for at least two hours, the survey revealed. Some 12 per cent of patients said they had a toilet accident while waiting for help.The poll also found that one in 10 patients staying overnight in hospital was examined on an open ward or with the curtain round their bed partly open. Mike Hobday of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “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.”

Mr Hobday called on NHS England not to scrap the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, which is under review.

Samantha Riley, director of insight at NHS England, said: “Cancer patients are a key group and we have no plans to stop carrying out the National Cancer Patients Experience Survey (CPES). We know that clinical teams use this survey to drive improvement and that groups such as Macmillan also use this valuable data to great effect.”