Plans to pilot an electronic cancer decision support tool to help GPs detect cancer earlier have been sent out in a letter to trust chief executives. Cancer networks are now recruiting general practices to take part and are working with local trusts to prepare for the initiative which is expected to be fully rolled out from March 2013 for 6 months.
The government is committed to improving cancer survival in England and has set an ambition to save an additional 5,000 lives every year by 2014/15. The electronic cancer decision support tool is designed to assess the risk of a patient having an existing, but as yet undiagnosed cancer, and to help GPs identify patients who they might not otherwise refer urgently for suspected cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Support, with Department of Health funding, is leading this pilot to promote the use of the electronic cancer decision support tool in general practice. The pilot will ensure the electronic tool is implemented in a managed way, working with a limited number of cancer networks and will gather evidence for its use as a valid aid to clinical decision making and patient management.
Cancer networks and local clinical commissioning groups will want to discuss the pilot with their local secondary care providers including how to manage any additional demand that might arise from the pilot and will be seeking their cooperation.