The Pan-London two-week-wait cancer referral forms (now called the Urgent Suspected Cancer Referral forms), which have been used to make cancer referrals across London for six years, are having a facelift to make them more user friendly. Although the forms have had changes to ensure they are up-to-date with clinical guidance or other pathway changes, this will be the first time since their creation that they are having a format change in the hopes of making the process of completion faster and easier for all.
The Transforming Cancer Services Early Diagnosis team developed the forms in 2015 and started the process of consultation to improve their design in 2021. The forms are designed to reflect regional pathways embedding national guidelines and are used universally for all urgent suspected cancer referrals to London specialist services, this means that any changes great or small will impact all practices and referrals across London. This also means that to enact a change that affects any clinical pathway there needs to be consensus across the four London Cancer Alliances or five STPs.
The team received over 300 comments and change requests during this period of consultation and have pulled these into themes and challenges across all forms or for individual tumour sites. Many comments from colleagues in secondary care centred on frustrations around the lack of a clear description of the reason for referral to aid triage and comments from primary care colleagues centred around forms being too long to complete and pulling through inappropriate data in past medical history. The new forms are shorter overall, have clearer font and place a focus on the reason for referral and the referral criteria. It is hoped that with this a shorter and less cluttered form GPs can make referrals more quickly and secondary care teams can find the information they need to triage without the need to contact the GP for further information.
Due to the vast number of changes requested or conflicting suggestions for pathway improvement the projected roll out date of Spring 2022 has now been moved back to summer. The forms will now be heading into the third and final round of consultation to reach consensus on changes before moving onto testing of the forms within the three primary care systems (EMIS, SystmOne and Vision) used across London to ensure there are no unintended consequences. The team have recruited local GPs to work with TCST speed up the testing phase and support the role out of the forms across London.
In: TCST Newsletter