This new initiative, planned to start this month, is a positive development in early diagnosis of cancer. Currently, only few GP surgeries can refer patients to a hospital or diagnostic centre for an ultrasound, X-ray or sigmoidoscopy to detect colon and rectal cancers. This plan will aim for every GP to have this right in the future.
Although the NHS reports the number of people receiving cancer treatment continues to be high, with more than 27,000 people starting cancer treatment in August, the current testing system has been unable to meet key waiting time targets. At the end of September, about 320,000 patients in England were waiting more than the maximum of six weeks for a key diagnostic test.
The plan aims to tackle this issue by preventing long delays for those classed 'non-urgent' for testing purposes. The Guardian acknowledged that 67,000 people a year who have possible but vague signs of the disease – such as a cough, fatigue or dizziness - fall into this category. The scheme's implementation will therefore support GPs to provide more opportunities for testing across the UK for people with these vague symptoms.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) acknowledges that despite significant developments, nearly half of patients with a known stage of cancer are still diagnosed at stages III or IV, and almost 1 in 5 newly diagnosed cancer patients in England still receive their diagnosis via an emergency route. CRUK therefore supports the proposed changes in the hope this will fulfil the NHS's Long Term Plan to diagnose three in four cancers at stages one or two by 2028.
Read more about our delayed treatment claims and case studies from medical negligence solicitors in Manchester:
- Jenny Urwin secured a £1 million settlement for delayed lung cancer diagnosis at Manchester Royal Infirmary
- Claire Horton won a settlement for a young woman left blind following delayed diagnosis of optic nerve glioma
- Lindsay Holt secured an admission of liability on behalf of her client, following a prolonged delayed in diagnosis of Paget's disease.
- Lindsay Holt has issued proceedings against two GPs at an NHS practice in Harrogate for failing to diagnose her client's bowel cancer despite his symptoms falling within NICE guidelines for referral
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