Diagnosing cancer faster

For fast growing cancers, shortening the time between referral to treatment saves lives. Nationally, new models and standards of care are being implemented to ensure health services act swiftly to ensure rapid diagnosis.

Work we are doing to support this national work, includes:

Faster diagnosis standard

This new national standard will be introduced from April 2020 to ensure all patients who are referred for the investigation of suspected cancer find out, within 28 days, if they do or do not have a cancer diagnosis. Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance is working with our partners in the local health and care system to prepare for this standard.

This new 28 day standard is one of a number of cancer waiting time standards in place to measure the quality of care and improve waiting times for patients.

Rapid Diagnostic Service

From March 2020 there will be a Rapid Diagnostic Service in each Cancer Alliance area in England. This will be a service for patients with non-specific symptoms that could indicate cancer, offering fast access to diagnostic tests. Not only will these services deliver better care for patients, they aim to increase diagnostic capacity and ease pressure on GPs and accident and emergency teams who might otherwise have to organise multiple referrals.

Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance is aiming to provide a service that best meets the needs of our local communities, rather than a fixed centre in one location.  We have reviewed the capacity of and demand on diagnostic services to inform our options appraisal for service delivery and we are exploring virtual and face to face models. It is likely we will implement a variety of operational solutions in different areas to support local need and resources.

We are developing plans to provide a ‘virtual’ service where Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust together to deliver a service.

We are also introducing a non-specific but serious symptoms clinic (NSSSC) at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital in 2019-2020; and plans are underway to introduce a similar non-specific but serious symptoms clinic at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in 2020.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Louisa Daly, Senior Programme Manager for Screening and Early Diagnosis.