Rapid Diagnostic Services to be established in a further two areas.
New Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Services will be established in NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The services are supported by more than £600,000 and will help speed up cancer diagnoses through a new fast-track primary care route to refer patients with non-specific symptoms, such as weight loss, fatigue and nausea that may raise concerns about the possibility of cancer.
This builds on the three Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Services already in operation in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Fife, and Dumfries & Galloway, which have seen hundreds of patients referred since they were first established in Spring 2021. Early data shows around 16% of referrals have gone on to be diagnosed with cancer, with around 20% receiving a non-cancer diagnosis and many others being discharged or referred onto primary care for non-cancer related treatment.
NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders plan to establish a pathway which will see patients receive an outcome within 21 days from referral.
The First Minister said:
“The best chance of surviving cancer remains early detection and treatment. Over the past year, we have established three new rapid cancer diagnostic services - in Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway and Fife. They have already supported hundreds of patients.
“More than one in seven of people referred to a fast track service were found to have cancer. Around half of them were from the poorest parts of the country - so these services are helping tackle health inequality too.
“I’m delighted to confirm today that two more services will open next year - one in the Borders and one in Lanarkshire. And by the end of this Parliament there will be a Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service in every heath board in Scotland.”
An interim report on the first three early adopter sites, from the University of Strathclyde, is expected later this month, which will reflect on the first year of the services running.
All patients that come through a Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service are given a navigator from the point of referral to support them and their families throughout the process.
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