GPs to get direct access to cancer tests

GPs are set to get direct access to cancer tests in an effort to speed up cancer diagnosis.

It is hoped that by expanding direct access to diagnostic scans across all GP practices, waiting times will be cut and cancer diagnoses will be sped up.

Starting this month, every GP team will be able to order CT scans, ultrasounds or brain MRIs for patients with symptoms, but that are outside the NICE guidelines for an urgent suspected cancer referral.

It is also hoped that hundreds of thousands of initial hospital appointments can be freed up, by removing the need for a specialist consultation and in turn helping to reduce the Covid backlog.

At the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard will say: “GPs are already referring record numbers of patients for urgent cancer referrals, so much so that the shortfall in people coming forward for cancer checks caused by the pandemic has now been eradicated.

“This new initiative builds on that progress, supporting GPs to provide more opportunities for testing across the country for people who have vague symptoms.

“By sending patients straight to testing, we can catch and treat more cancers at an earlier stage, helping us to deliver on our NHS Long Term plan’s ambitions to diagnose three-quarters of cancers at stages one or two when they are easier to treat.

“As ever, if you have a potential cancer symptom – please come forward and get checked – it could save your life”.

Image: Pixabay

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