Sarcoma UK is delighted to be commissioning a piece of research to help understand how people get referred into the specialist sarcoma services from their GP.
Specialist sarcoma centres have long been under intense pressure. More recently, regional and tertiary centres have been affected by an increase in GP referrals under the 2-week-wait pathway. This has not only meant that people are waiting a long time to get imaging results and receive their diagnosis, but can also affect prognosis or access to care.
The rapid increase in patient numbers without a corresponding expansion of the service has also led to increased patient dissatisfaction, failures in communication with patients and significant patient anxiety. This is a national issue affecting not only the local service at University Hospital Sussex but other regional and tertiary centres.
How will this project tackle this challenge?
University Hospital Sussex has a long-established radiologist-led soft tissue sarcoma service. Dr Nadia Mahmood will be analysing records gathered between 2017 and 2022 to map patients’ journeys through the service and spot any trends in how each patient’s referral might have related to their outcomes. Specifically, they’ll look at the number and appropriateness of referrals into the service, looking at the site and nature of the lump, imaging results, biopsy data and outcome. They will also be exploring sources of dissatisfaction and failures of communication, by looking at complaints made by patients.
What this means for people affected by sarcoma
As a result of their analysis, they will present a series of recommendations to improve the service and the experience for patients. The team hope that this will help reduce patient delays through the soft tissue sarcoma pathway and improve the experience for patients.
‘We are pleased to have started our retrospective analysis of the diagnostic sarcoma service at University Hospital Sussex. We are confident the results will positively impact the early diagnostic pathway for sarcoma patients.’ – Mr John Bush and Dr Nadia Mahmood