Health Improvement Scotland has produced new referral guidelines for suspected cancer, which will be used by GPs across Scotland. The guidelines are designed to assist GPs in deciding whether patients need to be rapidly assessed for cancer, given the symptoms they present with. The new guidelines replace those that have been operating since 2007.
Following representations about the initial draft document from us, and from Pancreatic Cancer Scotland, new "good practice" points have been added to the guidelines. These encourage GPs to refer patients presenting with certain symptoms for specialist imaging diagnostics, for example CT scans.
We are pleased to say that we feel the final document is a vast improvement on that which was consulted on earlier in the year. We hope that these guidelines will ultimately lead to earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer across Scotland and that this, in turn, will help save lives.
We will be monitoring how the new guidelines affect the situation in Scotland over the coming months. In addition, we will be working with NICE to ensure that their own cancer referral guidelines for England - and used in Wales and Northern Ireland too - and which are due to be produced for consultation later this year, make equally important steps forward.