Cancer remains the leading cause of mortality in the UK and a top priority in London. The number of people affected is significant. In 2010, 186,600 Londoners were living with and beyond cancer. With the incidence of cancer rising to 1 in 2 people, this number is set to rise significantly.
Patients with a recent diagnosis of cancer present in primary and secondary care with increased physical and psychological needs. Evidence shows 15 months after diagnosis these patients have 60% more A&E attendances, 97% more emergency admissions and 50% more contact with their GPs than a comparable group. Around 70% of people with cancer have at least one other long-term condition.
Care for patients presenting with symptoms of potential cancer, their diagnosis and treatment, subsequent support, follow up and end of life care are all prime examples of when patients, their families and carers, general practice teams, community services, secondary care, specialist services, and many others across the professions need to work together and communicate effectively. In the vast majority of cases, care is delivered well and general practice can be proud of the part it plays in ensuring the best for patients. London aims to do better and a particular area where gaps have been identified is the time following on from discharge from secondary/specialist care treatment.
This review offers a way to address this issue. Londonwide LMCs endorse this report and have called on CCGs to deliver the recommendations of this review. Particular emphasis is on addressing the resource implications for practices in delivering this valuable service.