NHS England | New ‘one stop shops’ for cancer to speed up diagnosis and save lives |
Rapid diagnostic and assessment centres are being piloted in ten areas as part of NHS England’s drive to catch cancer early and speed up diagnosis for people with cancer. These pilots form the Accelerate, Co-ordinate and Evaluate (ACE 2) Early Diagnosis Programme, a joint initiative by NHS England, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan. These new centres are part of NHS’s plan to meet the new faster diagnosis standard, where patients with suspected cancer should receive a diagnosis or the all clear within 28-days. Those diagnosed, with cancer can be referred on to specialists, those with benign conditions will be directed to appropriate treatment and receive tailored advice about prevention. It is anticipated that if the pilot is successful the programme will be rolled out across England.
While these pilots are the first multidisciplinary diagnostic centres in England, the concept comes from Denmark, where it was developed in response to patients presenting with vague symptoms being referred for multiple tests, when they required an urgent diagnosis.
All of the centres have the same purpose – to diagnose cancers early in people who do not have ‘alarm symptoms’ for a specific type of cancer, but each of will operate in a different way to address the needs of their local communities. The ten centres are located at:
- North Middlesex University Hospital,
- University College London Hospital,
- Southend University Hospital,
- Queens Hospital
- Royal Free Hospital
- St James University Hospital
- Airedale General Hospital
- University Hospital South Manchester
- Royal Oldham Hospital
- Churchill Hospital
The full post and further details of the programme can be found at NHS England
In the media: BBC News ‘One-stop shops’ set to speed up cancer diagnosis
The average time for a patient in England to be diagnosed with cancer is 40 days, a new study suggests | British Journal of General Practice | story via The Independent
Research published in the British Journal of General Practice has found that in 2014 the median number of days from first relevant presentation to the date of diagnosis was 40 days. This ranged from 15 days to 86 days.
The findings identify avenues for quality improvement activity and provide a baseline for future audit of the impact of 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on management and referral of suspected cancer.
Health officials have set a target for all cancer patients to be diagnosed within 28 days by 2020.
Full reference: Swann, R. et al. | Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit | British Journal of General Practice | 18 December 2017
NHS England is asking every hospital trust to adopt the Royal College of Physicians’ new clinical assessment system, The National Early Warning
The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) has been produced by the Royal College of Physicians and is backed by the Royal College for Emergency Medicine, NHS Improvement, the Association of Ambulance Chairs and Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director for NHS England.
The system was developed by the Royal College of Physicians with the aim of creating a standardised approach to clinical assessment across the country.
It is estimated that the NEWS is now being used in over 70% of trusts but NHS England is setting the goal of having the system in place across every acute and ambulance setting by 2019.
Having the NEWS adopted as the standard system will mean NHS staff who move between trusts are using a consistent set of measures for diagnosing patients.
Full story at NHS England
The British Journal of General Practice has published Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit. This audit shows that GPs are doing a good job at identifying patients they suspect of having cancer, and referring them in an appropriate and timely manner within five days of initial presentation. The findings highlight the usefulness of audits in taking a stocktake of where primary cancer is in cancer diagnosis across the NHS, and identifying areas for improvement moving forward.
New specialists will speed up cancer diagnoses and improve access to treatment
The UK is facing increased demand for cancer treatments based on the growing number of cases of cancer diagnosed each year and the fact that people are living for longer with cancer. Around 357,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In the year 2022, it has been projected that there will be around 422,000 new cases.
The NHS is to employ more cancer specialists, to speed up cancer diagnoses and get more people into treatment more quickly. The specialists will be trained in areas where there are shortages. It is part of Health Education England’s new Cancer Workforce Plan.
Announcements of extra provision include:
- 200 clinical endoscopists – to investigate suspected cancers internally
- 300 reporting radiographers – to identify cancers using x-rays and ultrasound
- support for clinical nurse specialists – to lead services and provide quality care
The plan is part of a campaign to make sure patients are diagnosed quickly and get better access to innovative treatments that can improve survival rates.
Further detail at HEE: Health Education England unveils plan to transform the future NHS cancer workforce
The Chief Executive of NHS England is to announce the scaling up of schemes to save lives by catching more cancers early. This press release refers to mobile lung cancer scanning trucks, a more sensitive bowel cancer test, and use of high definition MRI scans to reduce average prostate cancer diagnosis time.