People who visit their GP with non-specific but concerning symptoms could be referred into a new clinic that aims to detect those who may have cancer.
A Rapid Diagnosis Clinic (RDC) will be launched on October 6th at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, where patients from across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion will be seen in this clinic.
The plan is to develop further RDCs at sites across the health board.
Patients attending the RDC will be seen by a Doctor and undergo further investigations of their symptoms. Patients will leave the clinic either with results and a likely diagnosis, a plan for further investigations or reassurance if the results are normal.
Dr Sion James, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care and Community Services at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The RDC provides an opportunity to promptly review and investigate those patients in whom it can be challenging to make a diagnosis. Additionally, it will reassure patients quickly if their results showed no evidence of cancer.”
GPs will arrange for the patients to have blood tests prior to their attendance at the clinic. Patients will be contacted via telephone by the RDC staff and supported in preparing for the clinic.
Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse at Hywel Dda UHB said: “The RDC is an exciting development that will be essential in improving cancer outcomes. Previously, when symptoms have been vague, patients may have experienced referral to several different services before receiving a diagnosis.
“The RDC will address this, delivering an efficient and person-centred diagnostic experience for patients who will be supported through this pathway by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.”
The RDC team aims to see patients within one week of referral from their GP.
The Chair of Hywel Dda UHB, Maria Battle said: “The past 18 months have been extremely challenging and have caused many problems in detecting early stage cancer in patients. It has caused a backlog in patients waiting to access care for cancer and in extreme circumstances has meant detecting late stage cancer in some.”
“In light of this, the Rapid Diagnosis Clinic will be a break-through in helping patients with non-specific symptoms get the attention and care that they need promptly and efficiently. As we move forward from the hardship that the pandemic has brought us all, it will greatly improve patient care and preservation of life in this patient group.”