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More cancer specialist nurses to improve hospital care
Date:6/6/2013

Patients battling cancer have a better experience of care at hospitals that employ more cancer specialist nurses.

Research from the University of Southampton, shows that patients of better staffed hospitals are more likely to report being given more emotional support by nurses who work well together on wards.

Study author Peter Griffiths, Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Southampton, comments: "Cancer and its treatment can place a huge burden, both physical and psychological, on patients. Supporting people with cancer on the journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond, which for increasing numbers includes long term survival, is a key challenge for health services. Specialist nurses have been identified as having a key role in providing support and the number employed by the NHS has increased in recent decades, however with the strain on NHS funding there is no guarantee about the future of those posts.

"This is the first direct evidence that a widespread policy of employing more specialist nurses is linked to measurable benefits to patients. The absolute differences we see are small but if your odds of receiving good emotional support are increased by 15% I suspect most of us would take it if we were being treated for cancer."

The study, published today (6 June 2103) in the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, reviewed existing data from the 2010 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.

Analysis showed small but important differences in experiences of care. Patients of better staffed trusts were more likely to report that people treating and caring for them worked well together and they received enough emotional support during outpatient treatment. Women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer were also 34% more likely to report that hospital staff do everything possible to control the side effects of chemotherapy in trusts with the most clinical nurse specialist
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Contact: Becky Attwood
r.attwood@soton.ac.uk
44-023-805-95457
University of Southampton
Source:Eurekalert

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