Experiences of cancer appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

This report shares the results of Healthwatch Norfolk’s project about people’s experiences of cancer appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic in Norfolk and Waveney. This project was carried out by Healthwatch Norfolk in partnership with Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, and Healthwatch Suffolk.

The project aimed to find out about experiences and views on in-person and virtual (phone, video, and e-mail/e-messaging) appointments. To find out about these experiences two surveys were created and shared. The surveys were open from March to June 2021:

1. An online survey for professionals and staff members who work with people affected by cancer.

2. A survey for patients in Norfolk and Waveney who have had appointments regarding cancer referral, diagnosis or treatment since March 2020. This survey was available online, over the phone, in paper form, and in Easy Read format.

Healthwatch Norfolk received responses from 23 professionals to the staff members survey and heard from 244 people on the public survey. Among other things, the responses to the surveys showed that there was some reluctance from many professionals and patients to use virtual appointments for cancer appointments. Most patients would prefer an in-person than a virtual appointment.

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of cancer appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Norfolk
Healthwatch Suffolk
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 30 June, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 March, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 June, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group Healthwatch Suffolk
Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Cancer services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
85 +
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.