‘I had to tell my GP I had lung cancer ’:patient perspectives of hospital- and community-based lung cancer care

Lung cancer care spans both hospital and community healthcare settings. Suboptimal communication between healthcare providers impacts on continuity and quality of care. This study from PC4 training award recipient, Dr. Neli Slavova-Azmanova explored patients’ experiences regarding communication between healthcare providers and the role of GPs during cancer treatment through interviews with lung cancer patients. Analysis was undertaken to derive key themes of participant experiences. Poor communication between hospital cancer specialists (HCSs) influenced participants’ treatment choices and perceptions of the quality of their care. Information provided by HCSs to GPs was often delayed or incomplete, and many participants perceived themselves as a messenger between healthcare settings. Participants’ opinions about the GP role during cancer treatment varied greatly, from ‘no role’ to an ‘active member of the treating team’. These findings highlight the need for a new model of cancer care where the GP is considered part of the treating team. Early involvement of GPs and two-way communication between hospital and primary care during the disease continuum is required for this to occur.

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