For Public

Frequently asked questions

I am affected by cancer. Where can I find further information or support?

We provide a list of useful external websites of cancer charities and other organisations in the Links section of the website.

Who runs the National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit?

The Clinical Effectiveness Unit at the Royal College of Surgeons of England holds the contract for the Audit, NHS Digital provides project management and technical infrastructure, while the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Society of Gastroenterology as well as the Royal College of Radiologists provide clinical leadership and direction.

See partners for more information.

Why do we need your information?

Improvements in cancer care have been made since the audit began but it is important that this progress continues. For example, survival rates after surgery have improved year on year.

Audits are most effective when information from as many patients as possible is collected. So every patient is valuable to the audit.

The more patients we have information about, the more accurate our results are likely to be.

Only information from your hospital notes is used in the audit. The hospital enters your treatment information and NHS number onto a secure computer database at NHS Digital.

What does the audit look for?

We use your NHS number to link your information to other secure information sources, such as the National Radiotherapy Dataset. This linked information tells us more about your treatment – for example, if you had an unplanned return to hospital.

The linked information from you and other patients across England and Wales is given to The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) to analyse and use in the audit reports. The information is anonymised so you cannot be identified.

We may also provide NHS numbers of deceased patients to hospitals so they can check the information they have entered in the audit database is correct.

How do we keep your information safe and confidential?

NHS Digital is the government organisation set up to collect and study information on health and social care. It carries out many audits to improve patient care. Data protection and your privacy are an important part of the audit.

The National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit has been given permission to use and store patient information in order to carry out this audit in line with strict regulation under Acts of Parliament. The information that you provide will be handled in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Your anonymised (non-identifiable) information may be shared for research. For example:

Publishing papers in medical journals to provide information to medical staff on the best standards of care.
Providing information to guide public health policy, such as looking at the impact of early diagnosis.

For more information about how we protect your information, please refer to our Fair Processing Statement.

Do I have the right to say no?

If you do not want your information to be used, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not used in the audit.

This will not affect your treatment and care in any way.

Where can I see the audit reports?

The audit produces a report every year, including a patient report, as well as short reports, which look at particular topics, such as length of hospital stay. All of the reports are available on our website here.

Which information sources do we link to?

  • Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)
  • Office of National Statistics (ONS)
  • National Radiotherapy Dataset (RTDS)
  • Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT, the chemotherapy dataset)
  • Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre dataset (ICNARC)
  • Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW)