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As referral letters are often the principal method of communication between primary and secondary care, it is important that primary care professionals include all relevant information in referrals to assist the triage and management in secondary care. There can also be learning in reviewing new cancer diagnoses and suspected cancer referrals.

What makes a good clinical referral?

Miss Susannah Penney, Consultant Head, Neck and Thyroid Surgeon discusses what makes a good quality clinical referral with Dr Cathy Heaven. They discuss:

  • The reason for referral including symptoms, family history and investigation results
  • Clinical information that might make a difference, for example co-morbidities, performance status and capacity

Learning events

Dr Rosie Loftus, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr Anthony Cunliffe, National Lead GP Advisor from Macmillan Cancer Support talk about Learning Events. They discuss:

  • The difference between a Significant Event Analysis and a Learning Event
  • The importance of Learning Events in the context of cancer
  • Suggestions on how to create a quality Learning Event

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Additional resources

Link: NCRAS Cancer Registration Data Dictionary v4.4, Public Health England (2021)
Link: Minimum Data Set, NHS England (2018)
Link: Guidance and advice list, NICE (2021)
Link: The RCGP Primary Care Cancer Toolkit, Royal College of General Practitioners (2019)
Link: Rapid Referral Guidelines, Macmillan Cancer Support (2020)
Link: CRUK Summary of NICE Cancer referral guidelines – Symptom Desk Easel, Cancer Research UK (2020)
Link: CRUK Summary of NICE cancer recognition and referral guidelines (NG12), Cancer Research UK (2020)
Link: Patient Urgent Referral Leaflet, Cancer Research UK (2018)
Link: Symptoms diary, Bowel Cancer UK (2019)

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