Objective: To investigate the experience of specialist hospital follow-up among 109 women with breast cancer in remission.
Methods: Qualitative interviews explored views of follow-up at an outpatient clinic.
Results: Continuity of care and an unrushed consultation were considered to be both desirable and efficient. There were concerns that discontinuity led to a lack of personal and case familiarity and communication difficulties. Access to cancer expertise, the availability of diagnostic tests and specialist facilities were valued features of hospital follow-up, and further analysis indicated that this was particularly important in the early stages of follow-up.
Discussion: A preference for continuity of care may suggest that GP follow-up would be preferred, but access to specialist services is valued and may be of particular importance during the early stages of follow-up. The diversity of patients' needs during follow-up must be recognised when formulating policy.