Cancer referral figures praised as testament to hard work and dedication of GPs

By agency reporter
April 24, 2019

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has paid tribute to family doctors in its response to NHS England's announcement that cancer checks have topped two million for the first time.

In 2018, patients underwent a record 2.2 million cancer checks following urgent referral by their GP, almost 6,000 a day or more than four every minute.

That was an increase of almost a quarter of a million on the 1.9 million people who were seen in 2017.

Record numbers of people also received treatment for cancer, with 308,058 receiving a first treatment in 2018, almost 13,000 more than in 2017 and the first time the number has topped 300,000.

Cancer survival is at an all time high with new figures showing 10,000 more patients surviving for at least 12 months after diagnosis than five years earlier.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This is excellent news that is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs and their teams around the country – as well as being very reassuring for our patients.

"GPs have long borne the brunt of criticism for late diagnosis, and today's figures help set the record straight and demonstrate the important contribution that GPs make to the overall picture of cancer referrals and treatment in the NHS.

"GPs will always do their best for their patients and are well aware of the link between timely diagnosis and improved survival rates.

"However, cancer can present itself in many non-specific and vague ways, and GPs need much easier access to the right diagnostics in the community – along with the appropriate training and time to use them - so that we can continue this good work and deliver the best possible care to all our patients."

* NHS England https://www.england.nhs.uk/

* Royal College of General Practitioners https://www.rcgp.org.uk/

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