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GPs given power to request cancer tests

13th December 2010

The government has said it is to give GPs the ability to request tests for patients they suspect may have cancer.

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At the present time, specialists must ask for tests. The change is due to be put forward by the health secretary Andrew Lansley at the Britain Against Cancer conference this week.

Experts have welcomed the decision and said earlier diagnosis could help to prevent deaths from the disease.

Cancer survival rates in England are much worse than many other countries in the European Union.

The government confirmed that they will invest £25 million in diagnostic testing in 2011-12. GPs will be given the power to order chest x-rays, ultrasound scans, colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies.

Mr Lansley said: "Our ambition is simple, to deliver survival rates among the best in the world. Earlier diagnosis is key to this which is why we will be prioritising this area in the forthcoming Operating Framework."

"These plans will provide clinicians with access to the resources they need to deliver the outcomes patients and families deserve."

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said they were in favour of the changes.

"If we could diagnose cancers as early as the best countries in the world, we could avoid more than 10,000 deaths a year,"  he added.

 

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