Following the shocking failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, the Government has promised to put ‘the experience of patients at the centre of what the NHS does and the way in which its success is judged.’ But what does this really mean? And what do you think is a good patient experience?

At Macmillan, people with cancer often tell us how important it is to have a good experience during their treatment and care. Here are just a few examples of what patients have told us are part of a good experience:

  • the doctor asked them what they’d like to be called
  • they were given information about the potential side effects of their treatment
  • they were involved in decisions about their treatment and care
  • they knew who to ring when they needed support outside of hospital

They might seem like simple things, but we know that they can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, too many people with cancer are not getting the experience they should expect.

However there’s good news...

The Government has made patient experience 1 of its 5 priority areas for health and social care and has committed to putting the patient at the centre of everything it does. 

But how can we make this commitment a reality?

We know one way that’s already worked is to ask people with cancer how they rate their hospitals on various aspects of patient experience, and to publish the results.

At the moment, the experiences of people with cancer are measured using the Cancer Patient Experience Survey. We’ve published Hospital League Tables to show which hospitals are doing well in the survey and which need more work, and have supported hospitals to improve the care that they provide.

NHS England (a new body which oversees the running of the NHS in England) is now responsible for the Cancer Patient Experience Survey, and we’re asking them to commit to repeating it. Find out more about the survey, and why it’s so valuable for improving patient experience.

We’re also thinking about other ways that the Government, NHS England and other health and social care organisations can improve patient experience. As part of this, we want to know what a ‘good’ patient experience means to you:

  • What did/would really make a difference to you in terms of your experience during your treatment and care?
  • Are there any examples of a particularly good (like the examples listed above) or bad experience that you could share with us?

Please let us know what you think below, or by emailing us at

We’ll keep you updated on the campaigns blog about how we’re getting on.