Ipswich Hospital chosen for trial to speed up cancer diagnosis

Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Hospital has become one of just five trusts from across the country to take part in a new pilot designed to improve cancer care by speeding up diagnosis.

The 15-month trial will see the hospital aim to give a diagnosis or the all clear to 95% of patients being tested for gynecological or colorectal cancer within 28 days of their referral.

To achieve the target, doctors and nurses will work with patient representatives to identify any opportunities to speed up the process. This could be by inviting patients to have several diagnostic tests on the same day, for example, rather than waiting for the results of one test before moving onto the next.

Vicki Decroo, head of operations and lead for cancer management at the hospital, said: “It’s great news that Ipswich was just one of a handful of trusts selected to take part in this important trial.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for our hospital and will give us the chance to help influence and improve the care which future cancer patients receive.”

Ms Decroo said the hospital was also working closely with past and present patients, clinicians, commissioners, Macmillan and Cancer Research UK to identify changes that could be made to make diagnosis quicker.

Once the trial is complete, the Department of Health will use the research done at Ipswich, as well as at the other four pilot sites, to shape its new national strategy, which is hoped to improve treatment for all cancer patients of the future.

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Dr Peter Holloway, a GP in Mendlesham and cancer lead for the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the CCG had supported Ipswich Hospital in its bid to participate in this trial.

“It’s certainly pleasing that the hospital has been chosen as one of only five trusts in the country, which demonstrates the national level of confidence in cancer care services which are delivered locally,” he added. “Cancer affects so many people and a speedy diagnosis does away with a worrying wait for the patient. By getting diagnosed at an early stage of a cancer’s development patients have a much better chance of survival and recovery.”

Although the hospital will aim to diagnose or give the all clear within 28 days in 95% of cases, more complex cases where extra investigations are needed may take longer.

NHS hospitals are currently tasked with meeting three cancer targets, which are: to see suspected cancer patients within two weeks; start treatment within 62 days of referral in 85% of cases; and to begin treatment within 31 days of making a decision to treat.