A PATIENT watchdog wants to speak to any patients or their relatives who have been treated for cancer in Colchester over the last four years.

Healthwatch Essex wants to hear experiences of cancer treatment, care and support after Colchester Hospitals Trust was placed in special measures following revelations patient records had been altered.

The trust, which runs Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, has been struggling to hit targets which include getting an appointment within a fortnight of referral and beginning major treatment within 62 days.

Healthwatch Essex has begun working with the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support and local groups to launch the survey, which also asks how receptive the trust is to feedback.

Although the hospital trust has a complaints service, it is believed many patients and families are reluctant to complain directly to them.

Healthwatch chief executive Dr Tom Nutt said: “Being treated for cancer is very tough. Patient experience is a really vital part of delivering a good quality service.

“We encourage as many people as possible to share their experience of cancer services at Colchester with us to help the Trust make improvements for everyone.”

Healthwatch hopes to hear from any patient or family member dating back to April 2010.

People can take part by visiting www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/survey or by calling 01376 572829 for a paper copy before April 25.