Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting BA NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Cancer referrals by GPs above average
3:40pm Saturday 4th August 2012 in Local
WORCESTERSHIRE is above average for cancer referrals by GPs in a nationwide postcode lottery, figures published today reveal.
Data shows wide variation across England in 2010/11 in the number of patients referred to hospital specialists by GPs for suspected cancer.
Information from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) has shown a more than three-fold difference in the rate of urgent GP referrals to hospital for patients with suspected cancer, from under 830 to more than 2,550 in every 100,000 patients a year.
The average for cancer referrals is 1,853 per 100,000 population for Worcestershire, which is above the average for England of 1,812.
However, the range in Worcestershire for referrals ranged from 576 to 3,520 – showing there are also discrepancies within the county.
The NCIN, 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 were 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.
Dr Mick Peake, clinical lead, said: “The data is not easy to interpret since we do not know what the ‘optimum’ level is for these measures.
“Although the data is adjusted for age, there may be other differences in the characteristics of the patients of a particular GP practice that impact on local referral rates.”
The charity Cancer Research UK said the more than threefold variation in the rate of urgent cancer referrals was very worrying as it suggested differing approaches by some GPs.
View the data at ncin.org.uk