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Analysis shows that by 2020 the predicted demand for endoscopy services will increase by 44%. To meet these demands, RM Partners is piloting a streamlined diagnostic pathway at St Mark’s Hospital for all colorectal patients referred via the 2ww process.

The new pathway creates a single point of entry for these colorectal referrals. GPs should refer patients electronically on the 2ww referral pathway. The referral will be assessed and triaged by a nurse using a clinical diagnostic algorithm to determine the most appropriate test, including CT colongraphy, colonoscopy, outpatient clinic appointment or flexible sigmoidoscopy.

The new approach ensures the patient receives the correct first appointment or diagnostic test, which should reduce delays and allow for earlier diagnosis while reducing unnecessary endoscopies for patients who don’t need them. It also enables GPs to receive timely feedback within two weeks on their patients’ diagnostic outcomes.

A patient navigator is the contact for the patient throughout the pathway, ensuring a consistent relationship between the hospital and the patient. It is hoped that implementing this new pathway will help Trusts meet the 2ww and 62 day cancer performance targets.

The pilot, which went live on 31 March 2017, currently involves all GP practices in Brent, and will next be rolled out to practices in Harrow and then Ealing.

For more information please contact Dominic Cunnane, at Dominic.Cunnane1@nhs.net