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Direct testing speeds up cancer diagnosis

Sending patients referred by GPs with suspected colorectal cancer straight for testing can dramatically reduce time to diagnosis, a new study reveals.

The 'straight to test' strategy diagnosed 100 per cent of cancer patients within the Government's 31-day target, against 62 per cent before its introduction.

Study leader Mr Michael Kelly, national clinical lead for colorectal cancer, said if the scheme were adopted nationally it would lead to a 'widespread reduction in waiting times for both cancer and non-cancer diagnoses'.

Cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards told Pulse last month that the Government was looking into providing GPs with direct access to diagnostic services as a way of helping to improve waiting times.

The evaluation, published online by Colorectal Disease, found 95 per cent of all patients were diagnosed within 31 days ­ including those with diseases other than cancer.

The scheme was piloted in Leicester.

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