GP cancer audit aims to speed up diagnosis and referrals

GP practices will be asked to provide data on how they diagnose cancer - including how many patients they diagnosed early or late - following the launch of the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit on Friday.

The audit – which is voluntary for practices to complete – was launched by a collaboration between the RCGP, Public Health England (PHE), Cancer Research UK and Macmillan.

It will collect data on how many cancers have been diagnosed, the types of cancers diagnosed, the number of tests and consultations GPs use and how many cancers are diagnosed late or early.

The review will first look at data from 2014 and then compare this to data from 2015 onwards to build a picture of how diagnosis has changed following the introduction of NICE latest guidance on diagnosing cancer. These will also be compared against the national average.

GP cancer referral

Dr Richard Roope, RCGP cancer lead and Cancer Research UK expert, said: ‘This audit will help improve care and outcomes for cancer patients across the UK. It will highlight challenges in diagnosis and best practice to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.

‘Although we are all under pressure on a daily basis, this is an opportunity to make a difference to cancer outcomes both now and into the future and I’d like to encourage all of my fellow GPs to sign up right away.’

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Macmillan’s GP lead for early diagnosis, said: ‘Everyone should have the best possible chance to survive cancer and we know that being diagnosed early is key to making that happen. This audit will help us to identify what is working well, and what issues are leading to delays, and enable this learning to be shared widely.

‘The more GP practices we can get involved with the audit, the more robust and useful the learning will be, and will more likely lead to improved outcomes for patients. After all, early diagnosis can make all the difference in saving lives.’

Photo: iStock

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