Today the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) launches an interactive map on their website to show how hospitals are performing in the delivery of care to empower patients and help them make decisions about where to receive treatment. The map is designed to make statistics that are usually only scrutinised by healthcare professionals and managers more accessible to the public, exposing the significant regional variations in care across the UK.
The map, which can be accessed on the RCLCF website, reveals the differing performance of hospitals across a range of measures that paint a picture of the level of lung cancer care services provided by local Trusts. One of the key measures is the percentage of patients within a local area who receive active treatment for their condition. Other measures include the percentage of patients who have access to a specialist nurse, included because evidence shows that patients who see a specialist nurse are more likely to receive treatment than patients who do not.
Dr Jesme Fox, Medical Director at the RCLCF said: “The standard of lung cancer care varies widely across the UK. People living with the disease should know what care is available in their local area. This tool ensures that lung cancer patients and their families are better informed and so, are better equipped to work with their doctors in making sure they get the best care available.”
The map also reveals the percentage of patients who start their treatment journey by receiving a test to diagnose the specific type of lung cancer they have, an important factor in determining appropriate treatment, and the percentage of patients who receive surgery. The data displayed in the map is taken from the 2011 National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) Report which collected data on 38,057 patients in Great Britain and Northern Ireland who were first seen in 2010.
The annual National Lung Cancer Audit is the most comprehensive review of lung cancer services in the UK, and the 2011 audit is thought to represent almost all cases of lung cancer presenting to hospital in 2010. The audit data is used to drive improvements in care and improved access to up to date information about lung cancer care. The audit report sets out targets for the key measures of care, for example recommending that if less than 60% of patients are receiving active treatment, services should be reviewed.[ii]
Dr Michael Peake, Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine and National Clinical Lead, NHS Cancer Improvement, leads the NLCA team. He said: “The measures of care that are included in the map are strong indicators of the quality of care and some are known to be linked with improved patient survival. For instance the higher the rates of surgical resection, active treatment and access to specialist nurses, the better the outcomes for the patient. I would urge people living with lung cancer to log on to the RCLCF website and explore the map for themselves if they are interested in understanding more about standards of care.”
The launch of the map complements the launch of the Department of Health ‘Be clear on cancer’ campaign. The Department of Health campaign aims to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer by raising awareness of symptoms and making it easier for people to discuss symptoms with their GP.
Dr Fox commented, “It is critical that all efforts are made to improve early diagnosis rates in lung cancer, but equally important to help patients who have already received a diagnosis. We hope that the interactive map will offer a valuable resource to people who are dealing with the day to day reality of living with lung cancer.”
The development of the map was supported by Roche Products Ltd.
Visit the map at roycastle.org/lungcancermap
National Lung Cancer Audit 2010
[ii] National Lung Cancer Audit 2011