A LEADING charity has praised Basildon Hospital for making huge improvements to cancer services over the past year.

Macmillan Cancer Support used research compiled by the NHS to create a league table of hospital performance in England. Basildon ranked ninth in the list, meaning cancer patients’ overall experience is now much higher than it was last year.

The table takes into account whether diagnosis and treatment options were clearly explained, if patients felt well-supported in their care and whether doctors and nurses treated them with respect. Hannah Coffey, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “We are pleased overall patients are happier with the cancer care they are receiving. We have invested £200,000 in a new seven-day palliative care and oncology service, including the appointment of additional specialist cancer nurses.

“Our Macmillan Info Space, the area where patients, families and carers can access information about cancer, now has a regular programme of visiting wards to ensure we are bringing the information our patients need to them.

“We recognise we have further work to do in areas such as patient information, better communication and interaction with patients and pain management and we will continue to focus our efforts on bringing about more improvements.”

Carol Fenton, regional manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, praised the hospital.

She said: “We know the support and care people receive is as important as their actual treatment. It can make all the difference between coping with cancer and finding it a real struggle.”

Basildon is the only hospital across the East of England in the top ten, with other featured trusts including Southampton, Nottingham, Oxford and East Kent.

The praise comes two months after the hospital was placed in special measures, meaning it is closely monitored by the Care Quality Commission.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered the emergency action at 11 trusts across the country, in light of a damming report by Sir Bruce Keogh which identified areas in need of significant improvement at Basildon Hospital.