The feedback we heard from 81 people shows that overall, a majority have a positive experience along the prostate cancer pathway. However, variability exists and increases within the post-treatment support pathway. Within the diagnostic pathway, participants were satisfied with the:
- Information they received about prostate cancer services and what to expect following referral (62.5%).
- Way the service communicated with them (61.6%), and support that was offered to them (58.3%).
- Interaction and support from healthcare professionals, with 72% indicating they had a named Cancer Nurse Specialist.
- Speed of diagnosis, support, and information.
Key concerns with the treatment pathway were:
- Lack of information about treatment options and content of information leaving some people unprepared for the post treatment effects.
- Timing of information making it difficult for some people to make informed decisions.
- Slow pace of treatment, which meant that at the time of treatment for some people the stage of the cancer had changed, which can potentially impact outcomes.
- Lack of post treatment support, especially after discharge.
- Delays in follow-up appointments.
- Lack of information about side effects following treatment.
- Lack of parity with other cancer services.
Six months following the publication of this report Healthwatch Birmingham and Healthwatch Solihull will publish a follow-up report highlighting evidence of actions that have been committed to by the commissioner and provider of prostate cancer services across Birmingham and Solihull. We will require them to provide evidence to demonstrate that those changes have been made and an indication of targets met and how these have been achieved.
We would like to thank everyone who told us about their experiences. We are also grateful to all the organisations that helped us access people that use local prostate cancer services. We would particularly like to thank Aidan Adkins, Chair and Trustee of Tackle Prostate Cancer, NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (NHS BSOL) and MacMillan Cancer support workers at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) for their support.