In order to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act it was decided to ensure that any data which might uniquely identify any patient would not be part of the study. The section of the form, which contained the patient's name, was used only for cross-referencing the accuracy of the data auto generated from the PAS. This was undertaken by a research student employed for the duration of the study. This detachable section was then shredded and discarded.
The choice of variables reflects those used by the Royal College of Radiologists in its Re-audit of Radiotherapy Waiting Times 2003 report. It also ties in with the major audit undertaken by the Department annually. This will enable us to cross-reference and to align the data with a view to making recommendations for necessary improvements in the service.
Data on overall waiting times will feed into the Department's annual report and incremental improvements in service. Waiting times by gender is part of a larger study into inequalities of access to the service. The Department wishes to identify whether there is any disparity and if so to determine cause, and remove it promptly.
Limit to list - the Diagnosis, Dosage, Waiting List Status and Gender fields were limited to the prescribed coded choices. This method was chosen to further protect patient confidentiality in the event that the privacy of the data was compromised.
Most of the data used in the survey was auto-generated from the PAS. Data was double checked against the PAS by the Research Assistant.
60 patients were treated during the study period. Compliance with completing and returning the forms was 100%. This accuracy was determined by cross-referencing the number of expected and completed treatments with the number of forms returned.
The following findings were explicit from the dataset:
There was no immediately apparent correlation between gender and wait time.
The average weight time for all treatment types exceeded the good practice 30 minutes.
There was no immediately apparent correlation between waiting list status and the amount of time patients spent in the department.
Implications for Patient care
The less time patients spend in the Department, the more able the Department will be able to address some of the