A review of people's experiences with Health and Care Services whilst living with cancer during COVID-19

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Oldham completes a bi-monthly survey called the Healthwatch Oldham 100. This survey is designed to obtain views from local people on a range of subjects. In January 2021, Healthwatch Oldham released a Living with Cancer during COVID-19 survey to better understand the experiences people who live with cancer have had during the pandemic.

The survey was completed online, but people were invited to complete paper versions, as well as staff offering to complete the survey online over the phone. 31 people completed the survey. Key findings:

  • 8 people were alone when they received their diagnosis, causing feelings of upset and isolation.
  • Most have had appointments changed during the pandemic from face to face to remote. 17 people said they could not have any one attend with them for support.
  • Over half had their treatment change during the pandemic, generally delayed or cancelled.
  • 12 people were not able to access support/information to help with side effects.
  • 10 were spoken to about eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine, 9 of whom reported being advised to take it.
  • There was a lack of consistency with regards to arrangements of remote appointments.

Healthwatch Oldham made 5 key recommendations.

  1. Where feasible, allow a family member or friend to attend for support. If consultation is online, make patients aware beforehand they can have someone present.
  2. Address patients’ concerns ab9ot getting an accurate diagnosis without being seen in person.
  3. Improve communication to patients who have treatments delayed or cancelled, and address concerns around long term impacts of delayed treatment.
  4. Make information for patients to support them clearly stated and available when someone starts a specific treatment.
  5. Tackle inconsistencies in remote appointments.

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General details

Report title 
A review of people's experiences with Health and Care Services whilst living with cancer during COVID-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oldham
Date of publication 
Monday, 2 August, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 January, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 29 January, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Cancer services
Community services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
25-64 years
65-85 years
85 +
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

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.