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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Gordon Brown to announce new funding for GP cancer diagnosis

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs who have any doubts about whether a patient has cancer will be able to have access to the relevant diagnostic tests within two weeks of the first appointment, the Department of Health is to announce.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is widely expected to use his keynote speech at the Labour party conference this week to announce the Government's pledge to widen the current two week referral

GPs can already arrange for a patient with suspected cancer to be seen by a specialist within two weeks of referral.

But the DH are expected to extend this to all patients where a GP has any doubt and feels further tests are needed.

Ministers are determined to afford GPs the opportunity to quickly diagnose or exclude key cancers, particularly some of the most common cancers of the lung, bowel and ovary, which account for more than a third of UK cancer deaths.

To achieve this aim they will promise to allocate new funding to ensure rapid access to diagnostic tests and equipment such as ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans.

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said: ‘GPs would welcome the opportunity to refer patients directly for diagnostics such as MRI and CT scans, ultrasound and flexible sigmoidoscopy without having to refer to a specialist first.'

‘Giving GPs easier access is a superb idea. It will help us to pick up on very early symptoms so that we can stop the development of cancers and other serious diseases and save more lives.'

‘This could prove to be one of the most important breakthroughs for general practice and represents a major vote of confidence in the ability and professionalism of GPs who for too long have been dismissed as the poor relation of our specialist colleagues.'

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to make a key announcement on GP cancer diagnosis tomorrow Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to make a key announcement on GP cancer diagnosis tomorrow

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