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'One-stop shop' cancer diagnosis centres to investigate 'non-specific' symptoms

GPs in parts of England will be able to refer patients with non-specific symptoms for quicker cancer investigation.

NHS England has announced 10 new 'one-stop shop' cancer diagnosis centres that will guarantee a diagnosis within two weeks of the patient's first appointment.

The pilot sites, the total funding for which NHS England had yet to specify, will be based in hospitals across London, and the South, East and North of England.

Launched in cooperation with cancer charities Cancer Research UK and Macmillan, the scheme will be rolled out elsewhere in the country if successful.

National director for cancer Cally Palmer said: ‘Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country.

'These new one-stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated.'

NHS England said symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, appetite loss or abdominal pain currently cause patients to be 'referred multiple times for different tests for different cancers', although it hopes that this new scheme could 'end this cycle'.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'Traditionally, GPs have to refer patients who they suspect of having cancer to a particular hospital department, which works only if the symptoms point to a particular cancer type.

'However, several cancers start with very vague, non-specific symptoms and these "one stop" clinics will help diagnose such cases earlier, hopefully improving outcomes, and freeing up valuable appointments with hard-stretched GPs.'

The pilot follows years of discussions and proposed changes around cancer diagnosis.

In March last year, NHS England confirmed that it would be introducing a four-week cancer waiting standard from April 2018.

The 10 'one-stop shop' cancer diagnosis pilot locations


Churchill Hospital

North Middlesex University Hospital

University College London Hospital

Royal Free Hospital


Southend University Hospital, Queens Hospital


Airedale General Hospital

University Hospital South Manchester

Royal Oldham Hospital

St James University Hospital

Source: NHS England


Readers' comments (6)

  • Absolutely splendid! A concentration of diagnostic centres around London and none in the south west of Oxford. My patients in Devon will be proper stoked.

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  • sounds good, presumably the proof will be increased cancer survival in populations within realistic travelling distance of the clinics compared to the rest of us in years to come.
    BUT the sheer numbers of patients I could refer with nonspecific possibly neoplastic sx/borderline blood results who don' fit a definite speciality 2-week wait criteria would overwhelm the clinics in no time -particularly as medicolegally wd be hard to refuse referral to a pt fitting nonspecific criteria.And there's still this evenings surgery to go yet....

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  • Dear All,
    Should have been a 1st April story. Utter nonsense. You can't manage uncertainty with protocol driven care. So which cancer are they going to look for in "weight" loss? Oops, firstly, how will they confirm the "weight loss"?
    PauL C

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  • Sally GP 2.48pm

    And then what happens when those same patients that have had every blood test, scan etc. in the books continue to complain of the same symptoms, or new ones I.e ‘Heart-sinks’?

    I had a holiday in Goa a few years ago and met a Swedish Doctor, doing a recky on Ayurvedic treatment. She ran a clinic for Heart-sinks in Sweden. The emphasis of treatment was psychological and potentially might now involve Ayurvedic Medicine, among ‘others’ that were also being used. Freeing general practice from Heart-sinks would go along way to helping relieve the stress in our job

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  • Isn't latest NICE based on 3% PPV of symptoms?

    On the old NICE with a 5% PPV and a national conversion rate of 10% the average GP with 12 cancers per annum would need to make 120 2WW referrals per annum.

    Now on the latest NICE conversion rates are declining so I'll need to up my referral numbers and one assumes also refer to the "vague" just in case they don't make 3%

    I feel certain the capacity modellers in NHS E have done the maths to ensure we have enough capacity/money to cope with all this work?

    Absolutely bound to improve diagnosis stage and survival!

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  • Patients should be able to self refer to these centres. That is the only logical way to catch these cancers early (which cancers? I would like to see results of the pilot) . Why have the perceived barrier of a GP to sort symptoms when this will only result in a delay.

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