Some really positive news this morning with the announcement that NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) are to empower GP’s with new guidelines on cancer diagnosis.
These powers will enable GP’s to ‘raise the index of suspicion’ and to order certain tests directly (such as CT scans, and internal examinations such as endoscopies), therefore side-stepping initial referrals to specialists, and speeding up access to treatment. The guidelines also assist GP’s in wading through the myriad of (quite often benign) symptoms in order to identify and pinpoint those of more concern.
When I read this morning’s articles, it made me think about the responsibility of charities such as ourselves, the government, and other public health bodies, to ensure patients present to the GP. The benefits of the new proposals will only be fully realised if we work on educating the public around awareness and prevention. Public education, and finding a way to combat the ‘ostrich’ effect HAS to work alongside these much welcomed new guidelines and proposals in order to achieve the best results, which is fewer deaths from cancer.
NICE have a tough job, but credit where credit’s due. I genuinely believe that these proposals will indeed help to save lives.