Cancer patients say 
they were left hungry

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An “alarming” number of cancer patients are left to go hungry in hospitals and want to drop out of treatment because of the way they were dealt with by staff, a charity has warned.

A new poll by Macmillan Cancer Support found that a third of cancer patients in hospital were forced to ask for extra food.

A total of seven per cent said that the way hospital staff dealt with them made them feel like stopping their treatment early.

The poll, conducted on 350 cancer patients treated in the last two years, also found that as many as one in 17 suffered blunders surrounding their medication.

Charity chief executive Ciaran Devane said: “While most cancer patients get great care most of the time, it is alarming that so many cancer patients are given the wrong drugs, left hungry while being treated in hospital or have even felt like dropping out of treatment because of their interactions with staff.

“This survey sheds a worrying light on the sub-culture within some parts of the NHS where bad patient experience is acceptable. We have seen this at its worst in the case of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust exposed in the Francis Inquiry.

“What staff need is the time and space to truly care for patients and to be given the tools to do this.”

Breast cancer survivor Vicky Ayech, 67, from Hertfordshire, added: “I was taken up to the ward by 8.30pm after surgery on my breast – I was so hungry as I’d not eaten for 24 hours.

“I was given a menu but didn’t get any food until 11pm, and
then it was only bread and jam. After such an experience with nurses busy and impatient, I got myself discharged the next morning, earlier than was wise in retrospect.”