Survival rates for cancers were improving year on year. But Macmillan noted major inequalities in incidence, uptake of services and outcomes. These varied by people’s socioeconomic position, background and identity – including their age, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religious group.
They concluded that patients with better experiences of healthcare were more likely to present symptoms earlier and stay in the system longer. And patients who felt discriminated against or treated unfairly by staff were more likely to disengage.
As such, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were much less likely to survive cancer. For those with a combined disadvantage – for example, being old and from an ethnic minority group – survival rates were also significantly reduced.
Macmillan commissioned brap to:
- review the needs of people affected by cancer and how equality and human rights relate in that context
- identify good practice
- develop a framework of standards that would improve the experience for all cancer patients – while also addressing the inequalities some people were facing.
The subsequent Values Based Standard (pdf) built increased trust and improved relationships between professionals, patients and carers – leading to more opportunities to identify problems earlier.
Implementation of the standard was backed up by delivery stages, monitoring and training.