The NHS Long Term plan outlines the ambition of diagnosing 75% of cancers at stage 1 and 2 by 2028. RM Partners is working with our Integrated Care System (ICS) partners, including primary care networks, to achieve this ambition for our patients in west London.

We are developing and implementing a range of interventions designed to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed early. This work programme follows NHS England-produced guidance for primary and secondary care on improving early cancer diagnosis, and includes projects aimed at:

  • improving GP referral practice for suspected cancer
  • supporting projects to increase uptake and coverage of national cancer screening programmes
  • supporting the use of GP decision support tools
  • monitoring of patients referred for suspected cancers
  • establishment of Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs)
  • provision of patient information
  • provision of Targeted Lung Health Checks.

We are also establishing a community of practice for clinical staff to share good practice, and we host peer-to-peer learning events which improve understanding between primary and secondary care.

Improving referrals in primary care

Referrals by general practitioners account for the majority of cancer diagnoses. Therefore, it is essential that primary care clinical staff are supported to increase their knowledge of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and to understand the current referral pathways.

To assist with this, RM Partners supports a series of education events for primary care clinical staff. These are delivered in both face-to-face and virtual formats, as Covid-19 recovery permits, and are customised to different clinical specialties.

RM Partners also supports cancer webinars for primary care in each ICS, based on their local needs.

Screening

Screening participation is central to increasing the rate of early diagnosis of cancer. For example, around 31% of breast cancer cases are detected via the national breast cancer screening programme, and cervical cancer can be prevented through routine screening. We are committed to supporting primary care, screening centres, and screening hubs to achieve the national screening targets.

The focus of our screening projects is to:

  • Support Covid-19 recovery of the three national screening programmes – bowel, breast and cervical – to ensure that everyone who was due a screen receives an invitation in a timely manner.
  • Reduce variation in performance across west London, ensuring that regardless of where people live, they have equitable access to screening.
  • Reduce inequalities in accessing the screening programmes by using data to identify who is least likely to attend screening, for example because of their age, ethnicity, or social deprivation, and then planning projects which increase participation by people in these groups.

More information on our screening projects is available at the links below.

Bowel screening

Breast screening

Cervical screening

For more information on our primary care and screening programme please contact Claire Barry, claire.barry@nhs.net