North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new “express” service to quickly diagnose potentially serious illnesses.
GPs can now place patients with ‘nonspecific symptoms’ which could be linked to cancer or other illnesses onto the new rapid diagnostic service pathway, where they will be seen by hospital specialists within two-weeks.
The Trust is keen to stress that being placed on the Rapid Diagnostic Service pathway does not necessarily mean they have cancer. This is, however, a possibility, and swift actions are required for further diagnosis.
Gastroenterology consultant Dr. Iosif Beintaris said: “When GPs assess a patient as having symptoms that are likely linked to a specific cancer, the patient is placed on one of the well-established, existing two-week referral pathways. We aim for an appointment within two-weeks to start diagnosing their condition, so they can begin their treatment immediately if cancer is eventually diagnosed.
“However, some patients have symptoms that do not present as clear signs of possible cancer, but may still turn out to be cancer. We don’t want these patients waiting for their diagnosis. Our new rapid diagnostic service will make sure these patients are seen swiftly, so we can diagnose and plan their care accordingly.”
The region’s GPs have been briefed on the new service and can refer patients from their surgery computer using a secure online booking process.
The Trust is appealing to any patient placed on the rapid diagnostic service to ensure they attend their appointment, while following all COVID-19 safety procedures.
The diagnostic process will likely involve an endoscopy or CT scan carried out by qualified medical experts.