UK & World News

  • 29 June 2014, 14:51

GPs Who Miss Cancer 'To Be Named And Shamed'

GPs who repeatedly fail to spot signs of cancer in their patients could be named and shamed.

Surgeries will be marked out with a red flag on an NHS website for patients if they are deemed to be missing too many cases.

Doctors will also be red-flagged if patients have to make repeated visits before being referred for tests, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Practices will be given a green rating on the NHS Choices site if they have quick referral times for patients who show possible signs of having the disease.

But GPs have hit out at the plan, with one labelling it "very unhelpful" and saying it would be counter-productive.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said tough action must be taken to bring standards at surgeries with poor cancer referral rates into line with those with highest standards.

"We need to do much better," he told the newspaper.

"Cancer diagnosis levels around the country vary significantly and we must do much more to improve both the level of diagnosis and to bring those GP practices with poor referral rates up to the standards of the best."

A survey of 70,000 patients showed that one in 10 cancer sufferers had to see their GP at least five times before being referred to hospital to be diagnosed.

More than a quarter had seen their GP at least three times before being sent to a specialist.

Dr Monah Mansoori told Sky News: "I think we're going to end up having a system where GPs will start to refer defensively, they're just going to refer anything that's vaguely, possibly going to be a cancer because they don't want to be black marked and put on this list.

"It's very unhelpful, it's going to make people not confident in their GPs and more of them will end up at A&E and this is the problem they are supposedly trying to prevent and I think there's another issue, they haven't really said what they're going to do after they've put this black mark on GP's practices that perhaps aren't performing as well."

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