Cancer care varies widely depending on postcode, says survey

Data shows rate of urgent GP referrals to specialists is three times higher in some areas than in others

Patients with suspected cancer have three times more chance of being referred to specialists in some parts of the country than in other regions, according to new research. The wide variation across England in the numbers of patients referred to experts depends on their GP, according to new figures.

Data from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) has shown the rate of urgent GP referrals to hospital for patients with suspected cancer ranges from under 830 to more than 2,550 in every 100,000 patients a year.

The figures also showed a wide gap in the proportion of those patients referred who then go on to be diagnosed with cancer. The network, set up in 2008 to promote the analysis and publication of cancer statistics, said the number of people referred by GPs was not on its own an indicator of how good they are at spotting the early signs of cancer. But it said that the range of the variation was so wide that, at the extremes, it probably reflected differing standards of care.


Amelia Hill

The GuardianTramp

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