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Centre to diagnose potential cancer patients launched at Queen’s Hospital

The new team (Credit: Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust)

A scheme to quickly diagnose potential cancer patients has been launched at Queen’s and King George hospitals.

GPs can now refer people with vague symptoms or signs suggestive of cancer to a Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDC) where a specialist team will carry out further tests. 

The exams will try to determine if and what type of cancer the patient has so they can get the right form or treatment as quickly as possible.

“The RDC is unique, as unlike site specific pathways where patients who are not found to have a diagnosis of cancer are referred back to their GP, patients are managed to a diagnostic outcome, with a referral onto the relevant specialist service,” explained Jo Johnson, the RDC strategy and operations manager. 

He said the project has been introduced because many people have been reluctant or unable to see their GP in person during the Covid pandemic.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of patients who have had non-specific symptoms for a long period of time who need urgent management,” he added. 

The new service will operate at both Queen’s and King George hospitals. 

RDC consultant, Luigi De Michele, said: “The RDC provides a one stop clinic and so patients who are referred to us are given the assurance that their symptoms will be fully investigated to provide them with an outcome and management plan.

“Many of our patients are highly anxious and have a number of problems that are impacting their quality of life and wellbeing. We work alongside the clinical teams within the Trust so they can be transferred for ongoing treatment quickly and seamlessly.

Luigi De Michele (Credit: BHRUT)

“We treat the whole person and support them throughout their diagnostic journey, keeping their GP fully informed at all times, which improves communication and enhances their support in the community.”

It is hoped the initiative will reduce the burden on other teams by decreasing the number of inappropriate referrals. 

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