Quality and Value

OncoAlert and focus on: sick patients with suspected cancer

cancer graphic resized.jpgWelcome to the NHS Institute's cancer team website

We are looking at patients in England admitted as an emergency and diagnosed with a new cancer during their admission. The cancer project (cancer project 38.74 KB) is part of the High Volume Care work within the Delivering Quality and Value Priority Programme.

The team has now published the Focus on: Sick Patients with Suspected Cancer.


Using the NHS Institute's innovative work methodology, the aim of the project is to identify what makes the care of these patients work well in some hospitals, and how this expertise can be shared with other hospitals.


What we have done

We have visited a number of hospitals over the past two months to identify best practice and explore with them what can be done to share this across the wider NHS. We held a cancer stakeholder day at the end of September 2007 to share and validate some of these early findings.

What happens now

We have completed the testing phase of our project and in co-production with front line staff, we based on our Focus On: document we have developed a tool called OncoAlert which we expect to be available durign the summer of 2009. 

OncoAlert provides rapid access for hospital teams and GPs to advice and assessment from specialist cancer teams. OncoAlert aims to get sick patients with suspected cancer investigated and under the care of cancer teams as soon as possible, regardless of their route of referral.

By providing telephone advice and urgent outpatient and inpatient assessments OncoAlert aims to improve the quality of care for patients by reducing the need for emergency inpatient admission for some patients, the time to diagnosis and the patient’s overall length of time in hospital if admission is required.

The tool will include everything an organisation needs to establish the OncoAlert system within their hospital quickly and smoothly.

How to get involved

We would genuinely welcome and value your contribution to our work. If you have comments or would like to be involved, please contact the team at: cancer@institute.nhs.uk *

* Please note that the NHS Institute is an innovation and improvment organisation and is unable to give medical advice to patients or their carers


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