Brown pledges faster access to cancer tests

GPs in England are to be given speedier access to diagnostic tests to help spot cases of cancer early on, prime minister Gordon Brown will announce today.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown

In a speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Brown will say that helping GPs to make an earlier diagnosis of cancer will save up to 10,000 lives every year.

Under the proposals, GPs will be able to refer patients directly for diagnostic tests to help them to confirm or exclude a range of cancers.

Initially GPs will focus on some of the biggest killers, such as lung and colorectal cancer, with a commitment to extend this to all cancers within five years.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said: ‘The two-week referral time for those patients where there is a high suspicion of cancer has made a major difference to patients and their GPs.

‘But GPs would welcome the opportunity to refer patients directly for diagnostics such as MRI and CT scans, ultrasound and flexible sigmoidoscopy without having to refer to a specialist first.

‘Giving GPs easier access is a superb idea. Even if the results of the tests are normal, it will be of great benefit and reassure patients. It will also help us to pick up on very early symptoms so that we can stop the development of cancers and other serious diseases and save more lives.'

Healthcare Republic's Jonn Elledge is blogging live from the conference in Brighton.

  • Read this week's GP dated 2 October for the full version of this story.

 

 

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