The Royal Oldham Hospital is one of ten across the country chosen to become a ‘one stop shop’ for cancer diagnosis.
Rapid diagnostic and assessment centres are being piloted as part of NHS England’s drive to try to catch all forms of cancer early and speed up diagnoses.
Each of the centres will operate in a different way to ensure they meet the needs of their local communities.
But all have the same purpose of diagnosing cancers early in people who do not have ‘alarm symptoms’ for a specific type of cancer.
People with vague, non-specific symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, appetite loss or abdominal pain are often referred multiple times for different tests for different cancers, but these new centres will help end this cycle.
If a GP or other healthcare professional suspect cancer, they will now be able to refer their patient to a ‘one stop shop’ where all the necessary investigations can be done.
Some patients will receive a definitive diagnosis or all clear on the same day, while others will need to undergo further assessment, but can generally expect a diagnosis within two weeks.
Cally Palmer, National Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: “Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country.
“These new one-stop-shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated.”
The new centres are part of NHS’s plan to meet the new faster diagnosis standard, where patients with suspected cancer should receive a diagnosis or the all clear within 28 days.
Those diagnosed with cancer can be referred to specialists while those with benign conditions receive appropriate treatment and tailored advice about prevention.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of early diagnosis, said: “We’re confident these pilot centres will give us a much better understanding of what’s needed to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of people with less obvious symptoms, improve their experience of care and, ultimately, survival.
“This is a first for this country and Cancer Research UK is delighted to be partnering with NHS England in this innovative initiative.”
The concept originated in Denmark and was developed in response to the issue of patients with vague symptoms being referred for multiple tests, when they required an urgent diagnosis.
The ten trial centres are at:
- North Middlesex University Hospital
- University College London Hospital
- Southend University Hospital
- Queen’s Hospital
- Royal Free Hospital
- St James’s University Hospital
- Airedale General Hospital
- University Hospital South Manchester
- Royal Oldham Hospital
- Churchill Hospital