A recent survey completed by patients with cancer has found that many Shropshire patients visited their GP several times before being referred for further investigations.
645 patients diagnosed with cancer in the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group area took part in the survey. Its results of the survey highlighted the repeat visits made by many patients before being referred to specialists in 2018.
Across both the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin area, 40% of patients attended repeat visits to their GP before being referred for further tests.
Evidence of multiple GP visits
Out of the patients who completed the survey, 48 patients within the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin area attended their GP five or more times with symptoms before they were referred for investigations, 92 saw their GP three or four times, and 133 visited twice.
Gail Fortes-Mayer, executive cancer lead on behalf of both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, commented: “We are working hard to improve the experience for patients who may have symptoms that require tests for cancers of all types.
Dr Richard Roope, clinical lead for cancer for the Royal College of GPs, said that, despite “increased pressures” facing GPs, the number of patients attending their GP with emergency presentations of cancer are at an all-time low.
Challenge of early cancer diagnosis
Dr Roope also said: “It is notoriously difficult to diagnose many cancers in primary care. Particularly in the early stages of the disease, often there are either no symptoms or they might be vague and indicative of other, more common conditions.
“The most effective way to address this is to give GPs and our teams in primary care better access to the appropriate diagnostic tools in the community, and the training to use them.”
Our experts say
Elizabeth Wickson, a solicitor at Medical Accident Group, commented: “We all too often see claims where patients have attended their GP on numerous occasions with continuing or worsening symptoms. I hope that the above survey has highlighted areas where improvements can be made and further training can be given, which will hopefully in turn lead to prompter diagnoses for patients.”
Here at Medical Accident Group, we cover all areas of medical negligence, including inadequate care provided by GP surgeries. If you, or someone you know, has suffered as a result of a delay in diagnosis, then please contact us. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.