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A new rapid clinic at Stepping Hill Hospital has launched to improve access to diagnoses for people presenting with possible signs of cancer.
The Stockport hospital has joined Tameside Hospital in gaining status as a Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDC) for cancer. RDCs are designed to give patients a yes or no to cancer as quickly as possible, making sure those with worrying by unclear symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue or abdominal pain, can get the right tests in as few visits as possible.
Patients will currently be referred to the service via their GP. Staff at the centre aim to ensure the first diagnostic will be within seven days of referral from their GP and, where possible, will be able to rule cancer in or out on the same day, with an earlier diagnosis meaning treatment is more likely to have a positive outcome.
The new service is led by consultant radiologist, a senior gastro-enterology consultant, a new clinical nurse specialist and a navigator who have been employed by the trust to support it. The Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance is funding the additional resources for the centres over the next two years. Stepping Hill Hospital joins Tameside Hospital in partnership in delivering this new service for patients in Stockport and Tameside and Glossop.
RDCs are one of several vehicles designed to help achieve the new Faster Diagnosis Standard, which was introduced by NHS England in 2018/19 to ensure patients with possible cancer symptoms were seen and investigated sooner.
Andrew Loughney, Medical Director for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We are very pleased that Stepping Hill Hospital and Tameside Hospital have joined in a partnership to provide the new Rapid Diagnostic Centre service, to ensure patients with vague but concerning symptoms can receive a yes or no to cancer quickly and move forward to treatment. These new centres will also drive innovation and promote the continuous improvement of cancer diagnostics, which we hope will mean ever improving outcomes for our cancer patients in the future.”
Dr David Levy, Regional Medical Director for NHS England North, said:
“Rapid Diagnostic Centres like the service at Stepping Hill Hospital and Tameside Hospital play a vital part in not only the recovery of NHS cancer services but also offer a view into the future of cancer diagnosis in the NHS that will improve outcomes and, vitally, save a lot of lives.”
Photo: Stepping Hill RDC team: Dr Masoud Shebani (Consultant), Caroline Newsam (RDC Navigator), Charlotte Tippetts (Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist).