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GPs set for direct access to cancer diagnostics

By Laura Passi

GPs will get direct access to cancer diagnostics under plans due to be announced by the Department of Health today.

GPs will be able to refer patients with symptoms of cancer directly for checks - including colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and MRI scans - bypassing hospital specialists.

Pulse revealed earlier this year that the Department of Health was concerned about long waiting times for diagnostics after the RCGP national audit of cancer diagnosis in primary care showed delays were preventing cancers being identified more promptly.

Mr Lansley is expected to announce the changes later today at the Britain Against Cancer 2010 Conference, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer in London.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Lansley said he wanted the UK to have the best global survival rates.

‘Earlier diagnosis is key to this which is why we will be prioritising this area in the forthcoming Operating Framework. To achieve our aim we must place faith in those on the frontline not micro-manage from Whitehall.

'These plans will provide clinicians with access to the resources they need to deliver the outcomes patients and families deserve,' he added.

This announcement follows the results of the annual National Cancer Patient Experience Survey on Friday that showed the majority of patients thought GPs did a good job after a diagnosis of cancer, with 69% of patients saying GPs and nurses at their general practice did everything they could to support them.