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NHS England launches pilot programme for high street pharmacy referrals

The scheme aims to diagnose more early stage cancers without the need for a GP appointment

NHS England

A new pilot programme in England has been set up to diagnose more early stage cancers, where a better chance for a cure is more likely.

As part of the scheme, those with concerns around symptoms like coughs, blood in their urine or issues with swallowing will be able to receive a referral from a high street pharmacist for checks and scans, as opposed to waiting for a GP appointment.

Pharmacies involved will receive funding for customer referrals, while the NHS plans to provide more ‘roaming trucks’ to provide scans in local communities.

There has been a positive response to vans offering lung scans at football stadiums and in supermarket car parks, leading to more people being checked for cancer.

It is estimated that around 6,100 people a year are diagnosed with liver cancer, a number that has doubled over the past ten years and is anticipated to rise.

The NHS also aims to offer genetic screening for people in the Jewish community, since up to one in 40 has BRCA mutations, which is linked to a higher risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers, when compared with one in 400 in the general population.

UK health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: "Ensuring patients can access diagnosis and treatment easily in their communities and on High Streets is a fundamental part of our 10-Year Cancer Plan."

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, national clinical adviser for primary care, at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Doctors and nurses are working tirelessly to diagnose and treat the tens of thousands of people entering a very busy cancer care system.”

He added: "This pilot will give people the opportunity to access more trained professionals in their community to get symptoms investigated."

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

15th June 2022

From: Healthcare

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