How Radiotherapy is gathering patient feedback more effectively

Our Radiotherapy department has used the Newcastle Improvement approach to help transform how they gather patient feedback to make improvements.

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Patient satisfaction surveys are an invaluable way of gaining feedback from the people who use our services at Newcastle Hospitals. Within our Radiotherapy department, patient surveys have been carried out for several years.

Understanding the problem

Traditionally, our Radiotherapy department would survey patients twice a year, over a one-month period. However, response rates were a lot lower than they would have liked.

Whilst feedback from the survey was incredibly positive, the Radiotherapy team was concerned that the low response rate meant that they were not receiving a true representation of the patient population and opportunities for improvements could be missed.

Work was undertaken to understand the problems that needed to be overcome to improve the level of responses received. For example, there was a huge time commitment for staff when undertaking and analysing the surveys. Using Quality Improvement techniques including the development of a driver diagram to help understand the factors that influence response rates, a number of solutions were suggested, then tried and tested (Plan, Do Study, Act) to fully understand the best approach.

Improvements made

First order change concepts were introduced to increase awareness of the survey with both patients and staff with more posters in the department. Patients finishing their treatment were identified in advance and reception staff were also empowered to encourage and support patients to complete the survey.

The team progressed to thinking about second order change concepts and a new digital patient satisfaction survey was introduced to enable all patients who have finished their radiotherapy an opportunity to give their feedback. The survey is currently accessed by patients scanning the QR code on the posters.  The team are also introducing mobile tablets so patients can easily complete the survey online whilst they wait for their treatment.


Thanks to the efforts of the radiotherapy patient experience team and the new online tool, Radiotherapy can now gain a fuller picture of their patients’ experiences within their department. The recent survey produced a 76% response rate which is a fantastic achievement and a huge improvement from previous surveys.

It has also given the team the ability to analyse the results in a much quicker and more effective way.

Next steps

Katy Lowery, Northern Radiotherapy Network Manager, has been continuing to work with Dean Ainslie, Superintendent Radiographer and Patient Experience Project Lead, to address specific feedback from the survey and identify further areas of progress.

The team have recently engaged with the Trust’s Patient Experience Team to include equality monitoring information within the survey to enable them to compare responses from different patient populations, learn from good practice and target improvement efforts more efficiently.

The team are working closely with colleagues at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, North Cumbria and the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough to align radiotherapy patient surveys across the whole radiotherapy network.