How a Rapid Access Diagnostic Clinic increased GP referrals sped up cancer diagnosis and improved referral time for treatment

NHS England | August 2018 | Rapid Access Diagnostic Clinic for vague symptoms at Guy’ and St Thomas’

At Guy’ and St Thomas’ a new Rapid Access Diagnostic Clinic (RADC) was implemented to help speed up cancer diagnosis, as well as finding more cancers at grade one and two, in patients presenting with vague symptoms. It was rolled out to the six other CCGs across South London earlier this year.

The RADC provides a diagnostic service to patients who have presented to their GP or at the Accident and Emergency Department with vague but worrying ‘red flag’ symptoms. It follows a model of fast patient triage; coordinated access to diagnostic tests; second follow up appointment or telephone consultation resulting in rapid specialist referral or patient discharge.

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Early results

Although it is too early to say that the RADC has definitely improved patient outcomes  the early findings are promising:

  • 570 patients completed their RADC journey during its first 16 months of operation
  • 300 (58.82%) patients diagnosed with a serious benign condition including cirrhosis of the liver, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, heart failure, emphysema and Crohn’s disease
  • 44 (8.6% of all patients) diagnosed with cancer;
    • 11 of these 44 (25%) cancers were diagnosed at grade 1 or 2
  • 93% of patients rated their care as very good.

Patient benefits

  • Patients with cancer and other serious conditions are diagnosed quickly, referred for appropriate treatment and start treatment much more quickly
  • Patients who have traditionally struggled to get a diagnosis, now have a diagnosis for their condition
  • Patients are being diagnosed in a clinic where appropriate advice and support can be given rather than at A&E
  • Patients feel listened to and that their symptoms are being taken seriously, leading to high levels of patient satisfaction
  • Many patients are quickly reassured that they do not have cancer, as well as receiving a prompt referral to the appropriate specialist
  • Very high patient satisfaction levels [93% [160] rated their care as very good].

Wider benefits

The team at the RADC have seen:

  • Patients quickly diagnosed and appropriately referred for treatment
  • Increased uptake in GP referrals
  • Early stage cancers diagnosed in patients who ordinarily might be missed due to vague symptoms
  • Over time, the team expect to see a reduction in A&E presentations and repeated presentations to their GP of patients with certain cancers such as GI cancers (Source: NHS England)

Full details from NHS England

 

 

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