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What to tell a patient at the point of a suspected cancer referral
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Friday 5th June 2020
The consequences of poor patient preparation for a suspected cancer referral pathway can be significant; impacting not only patient trust, but also the number of DNAs. A study funded by Cancer Research focused on ‘what good looks like’ at the point of referral (CRUK, 2018). It stated that a GP should:
- Inform the patient that they are being referred to rule out cancer and reassure that most people referred will not have cancer
- Ensure the patient understands the importance of attending their referral appointment
- Provide written information to the patient
GatewayC’s ‘Improving the Quality of Your Referral’ course includes a full interview with three specialists, giving their opinion on what they think you should share with a patient at the point of referral first.
Key points from the interview include:
- Communicate the positive predictive value (PPV) of cancer to the patient if possible
- Be open with the patient, share your observations and findings
- Written information can help the patient understand the referral process
Find out more:
- Access GatewayC’s ‘Improving the Quality of Your Referral Course’ here
- Read this article from Amelung et al (2019) discussing the influence of patient-doctor conversations on patient behaviour