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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Faster diagnosis for cancer patients
02 December 2016

Our hospital has become one of just five from across the country to take part in a new pilot designed to improve cancer care by speeding up diagnosis.

The 15-month trial will see our hospital aim to give a diagnosis or the all clear to 95% of patients under investigation for gynecological or colorectal cancer within 28 days of their referral.

To achieve the target, doctors and nurses will work with patient representatives to review the current care pathway and identify any opportunities to speed up the process. This could be by inviting patients to have several diagnostic tests on the same day, for example, rather than waiting for the results of one investigation before moving onto the next.

Vicki Decroo, head of operations and lead for cancer management at the hospital, said; “Its great news that Ipswich was just one of a handful of trusts selected to take part in this important trial. It’s a really exciting opportunity for our hospital and will give us the chance to help influence and improve the care which future cancer patients receive.

“We are working very closely with patient representatives, clinicians, our commissioners, Macmillan and Cancer Research UK to identify changes we could make to speed up the diagnosis process, such as carrying out some tests simultaneously. We are also talking to past and current patients about their experiences to find out what they feel we could do better.

“Any changes we do introduce to speed up diagnosis will be carefully balanced so that patients are still given sufficient time to understand the options available to them, the tests they will be having and to ask any questions.

“Once the trial is complete, the Department of Health will use the work we have done here in Ipswich, as well as at the other four pilot sites, to shape its new national strategy, which we hope will improve the treatment which thousands of future patients receive.”

Dr Peter Holloway, a GP in Mendlesham and cancer lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The CCG has supported Ipswich Hospital in its bid to participate in this trial. It’s certainly pleasing that the hospital has been chosen as one of only five trusts in the country, which demonstrates the national level of confidence in cancer care services which are delivered locally.

“Cancer affects so many people and a speedy diagnosis does away with a worrying wait for the patient. By getting diagnosed at an early stage of a cancer’s development patients have a much better chance of survival and recovery.

“I very much hope that this trial will contribute to further improvements in cancer care in Suffolk and across the country.”

Although the hospital will aim to diagnose or give the all clear within 28 days in 95% of cases, more complex cases where extra investigations are needed may take longer.