Introduction: everybody’s responsibility: systematic assessment of patient and carer needs in the oncology clinic and GP surgery


All people with cancer, and their family and friends, have a variety of concerns directly or indirectly related to the cancer. These range from physical and psychosocial symptoms through to legal, financial and work related matters and combine to affect quality of life running alongside the need for tailored and timely information. These needs, affecting all domains of life, are present from around the time of diagnosis through to death, and, for bereaved family and friends, beyond. In addition, the ability to care, and wellbeing of, informal caregivers such as family members is a crucial part of successful management of the patient themselves. In the busy oncology clinic, or primary care consultation, needs may not be volunteered by the patient themselves and go unrecognised unless these are assessed for systematically. Most needs, if identified, could be managed within primary care or oncology teams, but some patients with persistent or complex issues require referral to specialist palliative care services. This group are important to identify in the light of published phase 3 randomised controlled trials which show the benefit of early involvement of specialist palliative care. This session is for any clinician who cares for people with cancer and will cover clinician assessment of need as part of routine care, patient-reported need, and the role of needs-based care in service delivery.