A new service has been started by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to speed up diagnosis of cancer in some patients.
Patients displaying symptoms of cancer will be referred by their GPs to the Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDC) at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Located in hospital route number 003 on the ground floor, the service has been set up by Gastro Consultant Dr Aadil Karim, who is RDC lead, and Trust Cancer Lead Dr Ashish Awasthi. Joining them are CT Radiographer Rashda Nisar and Cancer Service Team Lead Wendy Harvey and the team plan to give a diagnosis within two weeks after being seen by them.
Dr Karim and Dr Awasthi delivered a presentation to over 30 GPs across Walsall to encourage them to refer patients with non-specific symptoms to use the service. The aim is to get patients seen by the right staff to avoid any delays by them being sent to the wrong specialty.
“This service has been set up for patients who it is suspected might have cancer,” said Dr Karim. “We want to reduce any incidents of cancer that aren’t picked up by their GPs who feel the patient could have cancer but they don’t know specifically where to send, so they can send them here.”
Patients will only be referred to the RDC after they have undergone a series of tests, after which they will be screened and assessed where to be seen next.
“For example, patients might present with lethargy, fatigue or loss of appetite with vague abdominal symptoms and suspect it could be cancerous, then we can provide rapid testing so they can get seen by the right people quicker,” added Dr Karim.
Dr Karim is in the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) for Cancer Unknown Primary (CUP) which can filter patients as part of the RDC process.
The RDC has taken delivery of its first patient and the feedback was positive.
“We managed to get the patient into a CT scan on the same day so this was quickly sorted out rather than involving other departments and a possible delay,” added Dr Karim. “As time goes on, we hope to receive more referrals.”