New NHS early cancer diagnostics centres piloted in Fife
The Centres – which are also running in Ayrshire & Arran and Dumfries & Galloway – are embedded in existing NHS frameworks look to provide alternative routes of urgent referrals for patients who report more general, concerning symptoms like fatigue, pain, nausea and weight loss or where a GP assumes a case of cancer.
This comes as around 40% of cancer patients continue to not be diagnosed through urgent suspicion of cancer pathways in Scotland and non-specific symptoms prove difficult to diagnose – with a range of potential causes which may or may not be cancer.
The new Centre pathways present ‘person-centred’ approach, with a navigator appointed to assist patients and families through the process to streamline diagnoses and improve patient experiences.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The establishment of our first Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres within the first 100 days of this new term marks a radical change to the patient experience of being tested for a suspicion of cancer and will improve the detection of cancers at an earlier stage.“This person-centred service will mean better care for patients, reducing the number of hospital visits they might otherwise need, preventing them having to repeat diagnostic testing and improving outcomes.“While the centres will have a wider health benefit in identifying other, serious health conditions, the focus remains on finding cancer as early as possible when it’s easier to treat.”
Dr Christopher McKenna, NHS Fife medical director, said: “We are delighted that Fife has been chosen as one of the pilot sites.
“We know the importance of early interventions in improving outcomes for patients with cancer. Improving provision for those with complex or non-specific symptoms will help us to quicken the time taken to diagnose cancers, or indeed to rule cancer out.
“The new approach will enable patients to access appropriate diagnostic testing and assessment within three weeks, after which they can be referring on to the most appropriate specialist pathway or discharged back to the care of their local GP.
“In addition to helping us detect cancers earlier, it will help minimise anxiety awaiting a possible cancer diagnosis.”