Primary care has a key role in the delivery of cancer care. We work with primary care colleagues in a number of ways to help them support the communities they serve. The alliance also supports cancer education for primary care health professionals by endorsing, promoting, funding and delivering educational activity. The primary care work programme is overseen by the North Central London Cancer Primary Care Working Group and reports to the North Central London Cancer Programme Board.
Safety netting ensures patients undergoing investigations for cancer, or presenting with symptoms which could indicate serious disease, are followed up in a timely and appropriate manner.
The term safety netting includes a wide range of actions and procedures. These may involve actions at an individual GP-patient consultation level and procedures implemented at a practice level. Safety netting is particularly important for suspected cancer, where symptoms are common and often non-specific.
A common example is when GPs refer patients to hospitals for further tests or specialist consultation. Once a referral is made the GP can make a note on their electronic system to remind them through an alert (safety net) to check whether the patient has been offered an appointment at the hospital, has attended, the results of investigations have been shared and/or the patient has been informed of the findings.
We have been supporting GPs since 2015 (when our primary care work stream was started with Macmillan funding) in providing practical and robust solutions for cancer safety netting.
Primary Care Cancer Webinar Series
With North London Partners in Health and Care we host webinars to support primary care professionals in NCL with topics that include updates on national guidance, local changes in cancer pathways and recognition of symptoms. The webinars also allow the primary care community to meet their secondary care colleagues, ask questions and have discussions. The series includes past or future sessions in the following areas:
- Cervical screening and colposcopy
- Head and neck cancer
- Urological cancers
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Skin Cancer
The webinars are recorded and made available on our YouTube channel.
Gateway C Module
GatewayC is a free online cancer education platform which provides online courses and webinars, developed for primary care professionals across England.
The platform aims to improve cancer outcomes and has been developed by GPs, specialists and people affected by cancer. The courses are supported by Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and other major cancer charities. All courses follow NICE NG12 guidelines and are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
The Cancer Alliance enlisted GatewayC to create a module, Managing Physical Effects, on the management of the long-term effects of cancer treatments. The content of this module has been informed by the input of many healthcare professionals including colleagues from Macmillan Cancer Support.
Cancer Care Review videos
Cancer Care Reviews (CCR) are conversations that are carried out between a primary care health professional in general practice and a patient, usually within six months of the person receiving a diagnosis of cancer. The aim is to identify information and support that is available to the patient that would be relevant to their needs at that time.
With the help of local GPs, patients and Macmillan Cancer Support, the Cancer Alliance has produced three short videos to provide information about CCRs:
Health Registry for people diagnosed with cancer
The Cancer Alliance in collaboration with North Central London CCG is working to develop a health registry using the Health Intent and Cerner to support care outside of hospital after a cancer diagnosis. This initiative has brought together primary and secondary care doctors, nurses, primary care pharmacists, commissioners and patients to agree on a set of health measures to create the standard for patient care reviews across north central London. One of the key features of the registry will be the review of the administration of a Cancer Care Review. This project is in development and the ambition is to have a basic registry in place by spring 2022. Expansion of the registry will then include more specific measures, such as the review of stratified follow ups.