Warrington and Halton Hospitals (WHH) is one of 10 Trusts nationally that has been selected to participate in the testing of a Faster Diagnosis Standard for patients with suspected cancer.
The reason this is happening is because we know that suspecting cancer can be an incredibly worrying time for our patients and their loved ones. Seeing the specialist AND knowing the results of the tests within 28 days of being referred by their GP will, we hope, reduce that agonising ‘waiting to hear’ time.
We will also be able to see if this new standard can help our staff to deliver even better care for our patients by taking into account the many advances in clinical practice.
The quality of our patients’ care, their safety and their experience of treatment remains our top priority and the testing of the new standard will not affect their care. Patients’ existing rights to see a specialist within two weeks will not change during the testing period, nor will their rights under the NHS Constitution.
GPs will still assess patients based on best clinical practice and will make an urgent referral if required. Leading NHS clinicians have been reviewing the access targets that are in place (‘access targets’ mean the time patients have to wait to first consultant appointment/diagnostic test/emergency treatment/operations) and are testing the ‘Faster Diagnosis Standard’ between August 2019 and March 2020. Testing has now begun and this Trust, with nine other Trusts, will be working with NHS England and NHS Improvement throughout to design the process. If patients have any concerns about being seen and diagnosed during this testing period then they are encouraged to please speak to their specialist or any member of WHH staff involved in their care.
More information on the Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/clinically-led-review-nhs-access-standards/