A project to promote the use of Faecal Immunohistochemical Testing (FIT) in urgent secondary care is scheduled to launch this summer across two hospital sites in north east London. The aim of the pilot is to reduce the time to diagnosis by investigating high-risk patients who present to secondary care emergency departments with lower GI red flag symptoms.
FIT was introduced for symptomatic patients in primary care in 2019 to identify people at higher risk of colorectal cancer. This test was also used in London during the Covid-19 pandemic to assist with triaging bowel cancer referrals and ease the burden on stretched specialist teams however it is now not routinely available in secondary care.
It’s hoped that the pilot project will:
- improve secondary care access to FIT to allow testing of appropriate patients who present in urgent secondary care departments;
- develop and test pathways incorporating FIT testing to promote improved clinical evaluation and triage of patients for investigation of lower GI disease;
- reduce diagnostic timelines;
- help to identify low risk symptomatic patients to determine the need for further investigation.
Pilots have been agreed at four sites in north east London; the Emergency Department and Urgent Treatment Centre at Whipps Cross and the Emergency Department at Queen’s Hospital; and the urgent care setting also known as the Partnership of East London Cooperatives (PELC) at Queen’s. The work will be supported by senior clinical emergency department champions, colo-rectal cancer clinicians, medical and nursing leadership and dedicated navigators.
The pilot is expected to run for between six and eight months, and we’ll continue to report on progress.