The role of health professionals in informing cancer patients: findings from The Teamwork Project (phase one)

Health Expect. 2000 Sep;3(3):217-219. doi: 10.1046/j.1369-6513.2000.00105.x.


BACKGROUND: The Teamwork Project is managed by the National Cancer Alliance (NCA) and funded jointly by the National Lottery Charities Board and the Department of Health. The aim of the Project is to produce a Personal Information File to help people with cancer work in partnership with health professionals. Phase one was carried out between September 1998 and April 2000. The Teamwork Project arose as a direct result of the NCA report, 'Patient-Centred Cancer Services'? - What Patients Say,1 one of a number of studies that found people with cancer want to be involved in decisions about their treatment and care. The study also found that, for this involvement to be successful, health professionals need to support patients in accessing information relevant to their individual needs and help them understand and apply that information. The focus of The Teamwork Project is to help provide a practical solution to meeting this information need. APPROACH: The Teamwork Project has used a wide-range of methods including literature appraisal; patient questionnaires; focus groups; semi-structured interviews and a consultation exercise. Throughout the Project there has been on-going involvement from both patients and professionals. CONCLUSIONS: There may be a divergence of views among health professionals in cancer services regarding their role as providers of patient information. Consequently, there may also be a significant variance in how their patients are informed in practice. This finding needs to be validated and the reasons for this understood if the full potential of the forthcoming National Health Service (NHS) Cancer Information Strategy is to be realised.