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Improving head and neck cancer referrals

The North Central London Cancer Alliance has worked with primary and secondary care in north London to implement a new referral advice system. It is designed to support GPsdecision making, create greater dialogue between primary and secondary care, improve knowledge of the potential symptoms of head and neck cancers, and help patients to have better and quicker experiences of the diagnostic referral process for head and neck cancer. 

How the referral service works

GPs who refer patients to UCLH can discuss cases, where patients have suspicious head and neck symptoms, with a cancer clinical nurse specialist (CNS). This is done before making a referral and deciding on the appropriate diagnosis pathway. GPs contact the CNS team via the Consultant Connect app(link). The service is available on weekdays and messages received before 3pm will be answered on the same day. 

What happens next

If a two week wait referral, for urgent suspected cancer, is appropriate the CNS will provide the GP with additional information to pass on to the patient, to help them understand what will happen next. Patients will also to be given the link to Your cancer pathway support guideFor higher risk patients, once referred, the CNS will work to liaise with the UCLH head and neck team to arrange a clinic appointment as quickly as possible.  

Using the app

For primary care use, Consult Connect is available from the App Store and Google Play. If it is not possible to access the app, a web-based Consultant Connect Platform can be used on any device so that quick and reliable advice can be obtained. Both app and web-based version are easy to use. A video and one-page user guide provide instructions.

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