GPs handed cancer diagnostics guide to detect cases earlier

The DH has published guidance to help GPs decide which patients to send to direct access cancer scans with the aim of cutting delays in diagnosis.

The DH guidelines cover use of brain MRI (above), direct access non-obstetric ultrasound, chest X-ray and flexible sigmoidoscopy
The DH guidelines cover use of brain MRI (above), direct access non-obstetric ultrasound, chest X-ray and flexible sigmoidoscopy

The advice from the DH's Cancer Diagnostics Advisory Board sets out when GPs should consider referring patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer, where use of the two-week wait pathway is not appropriate.

In non-urgent cases where symptoms still need investigating, best practice referral guidelines explain how GPs should use local direct access diagnostics.

It covers use of direct access non-obstetric ultrasound, chest X-ray, flexible sigmoidoscopy and brain MRI.

The guidance forms part of the government's £450m programme to achieve earlier diagnosis, set out in the DH's cancer strategy.

The government's aim is to have less than 1% of patients waiting longer than six weeks for a diagnostic test.

The DH has estimated that 5,000 lives could be saved each year if England achieved cancer survival rates at the European average.

An RCGP audit published in November found GPs investigate and refer three-quarters of patients with cancer within two consultations.

However, a GP investigation in September revealed how PCT restrictions on access to diagnostic scans risk delaying diagnoses and 'deprofessionalising' GPs.

The RCGP warned in January that government plans to monitor GPs' use of diagnostic tests must set clear standards to avoid clinicans being wrongly accused of inappropriate referrals.

Click here to read the guidance

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs across England have raised concerns over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccination among...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

COVID-19 vaccination programme widens to over-70s and clinically vulnerable

COVID-19 vaccination programme widens to over-70s and clinically vulnerable

People aged over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered...

Hoarse voice - red flag symptoms

Hoarse voice - red flag symptoms

Dr Suneeta Kochhar provides an overview into the red flag symptoms to look for in...

Epistaxis - red flag symptoms

Epistaxis - red flag symptoms

Dr Suneeta Kochhar provides an overview of red flag symptoms to look for in a patient...

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

The NHS should provide 10 times the current daily recommended amount of vitamin D...