The ACE programme pharmacy/primary care cluster is pleased to release two interim reports, the first on direct referral of suspected cancer patients by non GP primary care health professionals and the second on training of pharmacy staff for early diagnosis of cancer.
Variations in performance and practice
The lung cancer pathways interim report provides an opportunity to share some of the information gathered so far and to introduce the next phases of the process. There are six ACE projects within the Lung Pathway cluster, testing a range of different pathways and/or pathway elements as well as communication methods and motivation techniques. The majority of projects are trying to achieve better/faster access to CT.
The ACE Lung programme aims to help commissioners and providers to meet these standards by providing evidence of the impact of implementing particular changes, and by providing relevant information and tools that can be used to improve local services.
A more detailed analysis and evaluation of these six projects will be undertaken by the ACE programme in summer 2016.
Download the report
Setting up direct referral for early diagnosis of cancer
The first report presents two ACE direct referral projects, one involving community pharmacists and the other involving optometrists. The community pharmacy project is a direct referral to chest x-ray for people with suspected lung cancer being piloted by Doncaster CCG. The optometrist project is a direct referral to neuroscience for people with field vision defects being piloted by South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.
The aim of both projects is to identify and refer patients more quickly in order to improve early diagnosis of cancer and other conditions, and thus improve patient outcomes.
The report explains the rationale for the projects and how their direct referral pathways were developed and implemented. Key findings include the importance of effectively engaging all relevant local health economy partners and stakeholders and making sure that staff undertaking interventions have the right training.
Both projects are currently underway and a more detailed analysis of their impact will be undertaken by the ACE programme during 2016.
Download the report
Appropriate training helps pharmacies play a role in early diagnosis of cancer
Appropriate training of community pharmacy staff can enable them to play an important role in getting cancers diagnosed earlier, ACE recommends in its second interim report.
The report looks at how to best to organise pharmacy staff training for participating in early diagnosis related activities, including format and content and the costs involved. The report analyses five community pharmacy training programmes, including two ACE projects.
Key findings include that counselling skills training for pharmacy counter assistants are crucial and that pharmacists must be required to undergo specific training in order to undertake direct referral of patients to secondary care.
Download the full report