Help & support

Find out more about the survey including information on how to take part, what happens to your answers and how we protect your privacy.

Received a survey?

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey aims to understand the experiences of cancer care across England. We have sent you this survey because we would like to understand about your experiences of the NHS cancer care you received. This will help us to improve patient experience of existing cancer care services.

All adult patients (aged 16 and over), with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who have been admitted to hospital as inpatients for cancer related treatment, or who were seen as day case patients for cancer related treatment and have been discharged between April and June each year are included in the survey.

Taking part in the survey is completely voluntary. We hope you will take part as this will give us the best possible picture of people’s experiences of cancer care.

However, if you do not wish to receive any reminders about the survey then please send a blank questionnaire back and you will be removed from the current survey.

You can also send an email to Picker or call the helpline number on the letter and Picker will remove you from the current survey.

Picker, an independent research agency, administers the survey for NHS England. NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England. You can find out more about NHS England on the NHS England website.

Feedback can be provided through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or patient services manager for the NHS trust where you received care.

Specific complaints can also be made through the NHS trust where you received your care. Each NHS trust has a member of staff responsible for complaints who will try to resolve the matter with you.

If you would prefer to give anonymous feedback, you could ask staff at the hospital for information about how to give feedback using the Friends and Family Test (FFT). The FFT is designed to be a quick and easy way to give anonymous feedback that will go directly to the staff providing your care.

For more information about making a complaint to the NHS please visit: How to make a complaint to the NHS.

Completing the survey

Please answer as many of the questions as you can. The more questions you answer, the more we can understand what your experience was like. This will help us make improvements to cancer services in the future.

If you feel unable to answer any question, or if any question makes you feel uncomfortable, you can leave it blank.

Yes, your progress saves automatically when completing the survey online. If you close your browser, your progress will be saved. When you are ready to continue with the survey, log in with your access code and continue where you left off.

Once you have completed the survey, please press the ‘submit’ button at the end of the survey otherwise we will not receive your responses.

Yes, you can ask someone to help you fill in the survey. Please remember to always answer from your own point of view, rather than take the opinion from the person that helps you.

Picker also provides a Freephone helpline where call advisors are available to complete the survey with you over the telephone (please refer to the letter that came with the questionnaire, for information).

Each person invited to take part in the survey is given a unique survey number and QR code so that your name and address are separated from your survey answers. This means that answers can be carefully recorded and that your answers are kept confidential.

If you have lost your access code, please email with your request and we will email this back to you. This may take a few days as all access codes are held securely.

Or you can wait until you receive the next reminder letter, which will be sent to everyone who hasn’t filled in the survey. Your access code will be printed on the first page of the letter.

Each person invited to take part in the survey is given a unique access code and QR code on their letter that they can use to complete the survey online.

To complete the survey using the QR code, scan the QR code with your smart phone and you will be taken directly to the online questionnaire.

Another way to complete the survey online is to use your access code. Each access code is 8 characters long and can be found on the first page of your letter with an online link. If you enter the link into your device, you will be asked to enter your access code so you can begin the survey.

If you have lost your access code, please email with your request and we will email this back to you. This may take a few days as all access codes are held securely.

Or you can wait until you receive the next reminder letter, which will be sent to everyone who hasn’t filled in the survey. Your access code will be printed on the first page of the letter.

The survey will close two months after the first survey invitation is sent out to you. Survey responses returned after this point will not be included and the online login details will stop working.

You may have received the survey before. This is because we send questionnaires out to all people seen as inpatients or day case patients for cancer related treatment and who were discharged between April and June each year.

Your views are important to us, and we hope you will take part again as this will give us the best possible picture of people’s experiences of cancer care.

Survey results

Your answers are put together with the answers from other people who take part in the survey and used to help understand and improve people’s experiences of cancer care services. The results will be published on this website. Nobody will be able to identify you in any results that are published.

The survey results are used to understand patient experience and to improve cancer services across England. The results will be looked at to understand differences in people’s experiences, for example, to see if people answer differently depending on their ethnic group or their type of cancer. This will help to identify where improvements are most needed and for which groups, communities, or populations.

Results for each participating NHS trust can be found on the latest results page.

The survey results will also be used to understand how people experience cancer care and treatment when they have been diagnosed via Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs). RDCs have been introduced into the NHS to get people diagnosed as early and as quickly as possible, for all patients with cancer symptoms or suspicious test results.

The survey results will be linked to data from RDCs using NHS number, postcode, and date of birth, to make sure that records are matched correctly but not to identify any individual person.

More information on the RDC Programme is available on NHS England’s Earlier diagnosis page.

By participating in the survey, you give permission for us to send your survey response data to the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS), which is part of NHS England, where it will be included in the cancer registry.

The NDRS will link your survey responses to your health data using your NHS number, date of birth and postcode. Survey responses linked to data about individual patient’s diagnosis, care and treatment can be used by the NHS and researchers to support the planning of cancer services and other research. Strict ethical and security safeguards are in place to ensure that your data will remain confidential.

Cancer registration data, including your anonymous survey responses, may be shared with the NHS and researchers through the Data Access Request Service (DARS), but only in a way that doesn’t identify you. DARS makes sure that access to data is according to strict data protection laws and that such data sharing will be of benefit to health and social care.

Confidentiality and data protection

Your personal details and some information about your cancer treatment have been used to identify you for this survey and will be used to analyse the results. These details were provided by the NHS trust that treated you. The details have been shared with Picker, who are carrying out the survey on behalf of NHS England.

Approval under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 is provided by the Confidentiality Advisory Group at the Health Research Agency ahead of any personal information being shared by NHS trusts with Picker. The Section 251 approval allows your details to be shared without your consent. The approval is granted following an independent review of the purposes and governance arrangements for the survey.

Under data protection legislation, NHS England is the controller responsible for the processing of your personal data to conduct the survey.

Your personal information will be handled securely, and the results published will not identify you. Each questionnaire has a unique number which is used by Picker to determine who has responded to the survey, and to send reminders to those who have not.

Picker takes its information security responsibilities seriously and applies various precautions to ensure your information is always protected from loss, theft, or misuse.

Picker has regular internal and external audits of its information security controls and working practices and is accredited to the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001.

Information on how Picker will process your data is available on their Cookies & privacy page.

NHS England’s lawful basis for carrying out the survey is covered as a ‘public task’ under Article 6(1)(e) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This provides a lawful basis for processing personal data where:

“…processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller”.

In addition, NHS England’s lawful basis for using special category (health) data to carry out the data is covered under Article 9(2)(h) of the GDPR:

“9(2)(h) processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services on the basis of Union or Member State law or pursuant to contract with a health professional and subject to the conditions and safeguards referred to in paragraph 3…”

The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that this survey has been made exempt from the National Data Opt Out. The list of exemptions and policy postponements provides more information.

NHS England’s Privacy Notice describes how they use personal data and explains how you can contact them and invoke your rights as a data subject. NHS England will protect your information in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.

You can obtain a copy of this by contacting the NHS England Customer Contact Centre via email or by the details below:

Telephone: 0300 311 22 33;

Post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the NHS England Insight & Feedback team.

If you have any questions relating to data protection, please contact NHS England’s Data Protection Office.

You have the right to make a complaint against NHS England regarding data protection issues with the Information Commissioner’s Office.