Delayed referrals, diagnoses undermine cancer patients' faith in health care system

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the ONA take:

Analysis of data from a survey conducted by Cancer Research UK scientists revealed that timeliness of referral for cancer tests can have a significant impact on patients’ overall satisfaction with their care and their health care team.

Of the nearly 60,000 survey respondents whose diagnoses were made through their GPs, 23% had been seen three or more times before a referral for cancer tests was given.

Furthermore, these patients were more likely to report negative experiences across 10 of 12 different aspects of their care compared with those patients who were referred after one or two visits with their GPs.

Aspects of care in which patients were dissatisfied included the way they were informed of their diagnosis, how well hospital and GPs worked together to provide care, and confidence and trust in ward nurses.

Although diagnostic delays can be caused by the difficulty in distinguishing cancer symptoms from other diseases and a lack of accurate and easy-to-use tests, the survey results demonstrate the significance of early diagnosis on patients’ overall experience with cancer care.

The researchers report that timeliness of diagnosis is an important factor in patients’ overall experience in their cancer journey.

For patients with terminal cancer, chemotherapy does not improve quality of life
Timeliness of referral for cancer tests can have a significant impact on patients’ overall satisfaction.
If it takes more than three trips to the GP to be referred for cancer tests, patients are more likely to be dissatisfied with their overall care, eroding confidence in the doctors and nurses who go on to treat and monitor them.
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