'Quite an awkward situation to be in': Perceptions of patients, carers and health and social care professionals of the supportive cancer care in British military personnel stationed in Germany

Roma Maguire, L. Forbat, N. Kearney, N. Rowa-Dewar

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This paper reports findings from a study which identified the nature and volume of supportive care received by British military services personnel and their dependents who experience cancer and are based in Germany. The objectives were to (1) identify any gaps in the provision of supportive care, (2) determine the potential for additional supportive care services (local or remote), and (3) identify any educational or development issues for DMWS personnel. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with people with cancer (n∈=∈7), informal carers (n∈=∈6), British health care professionals employed by British Forces in Germany (n∈=∈8), German health care professionals (n∈=∈3), senior military personnel (n∈=∈6) and army support personnel (n∈=∈5). Analysis of the data was thematic and focused on accounts of care related to core issue identified in the UK's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines (24). The paper explores the difficulties which British military personnel experience in their cancer care. The shortfalls in best practice are discussed in the framework of NICE guidelines focusing on communication, information, psychosocial care and coordination of care/inter-agency working. Significant gaps in the supportive care service provision are apparent The limited assessment and discussion of patients' supportive care needs suggests key areas for service improvement for providers both within the British Military in Germany, and in the services provided by German organisations. These findings highlight issues that should be considered by those providing supportive care for marginalised patient groups, such as patients and carers from different cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1276
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • carers
  • communication
  • information
  • NICE guidelines

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