Early Diagnosis of Cancer Programme

The Early Diagnosis of Cancer Programme focuses on planning sustainable improvements and systemic changes across patient pathways and diagnostics. Patients will benefit from earlier diagnosis of cancers, thus making the disease more curable.

The programme has different work streams, delivering specific elements:

Group 1 – Faster Diagnostic Standard (FDS) and timed pathways

  • Work covered in this group aims to implement the 28 FDS for patients referred to us

Group 2 –New diagnostic model

  • Aims to implement new diagnostic models e.g ‘one-stop’ clinics where clinically appropriate

Group 3 –  Serious Non Specific Symptoms Pathway

  • This pathway will help GPs refer patients into a dedicated service and reduce any delays to investigation or treatment

Group 4 – FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Testing) in primary care

  • GPs will be able to give patients a simple FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Testing) to carry out at home to rule out bowel cancer. This will also help reduce patients being referred for invasive procedures like colonoscopies

Group 5 – Workforce Advanced Practitioner in Cellular Pathology

  • Training and introduction of Advanced Practitioner roles in Cellular Pathology will create more capacity for reporting tests in a timely manner and reduce delays in patient pathways

Group 6 –Workforce in Endoscopy

  • Our Endoscopy Department has introduced a pre-assessment service for patients being referred from our clinics and GP referrals. Patients receive a face-to-face or phone assessment prior to their endoscopy procedure. Patient safety and comfort is enhanced, while allaying anxiety and allowing patients to ask questions

To find more about each group as part of our Early Diagnosis of Cancer Programme, click here.


The programme’s objectives are:

  • Review current patient pathways to ensure delivery of 28 days national Faster Diagnostic Standard for cancer.
  • Introduce new diagnostic models where clinically appropriate.
  • Introduction of a new test to diagnose bowel cancer earlier for symptomatic patients – Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) in primary care.
  • To set up a referral pathway for patients with’ Serious Non Specific Symptoms’.
  • Increased capacity delivered through enhanced workforce capabilities in pathology.
  • Increased capacity delivered through enhanced workforce capabilities in endoscopy.

Desired outcomes

  • Patients getting their diagnosis of cancer/no cancer within 28 days of referral to the Trust.
  • Reduced number of pathway steps for patients from referral to diagnosis and better diagnostic pathways.
  • Creating designated pathways for patients with Serious Non Specific Symptoms Pathway.
  • Ruling out bowel cancer in symptomatic patients by implementing Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) in primary care.
  • Improved workforce in endoscopy and pathology.

To find out more about the Early Diagnosis of Cancer Programme, email: [email protected].

Key staff

Operational Director, Long Term and Unscheduled Care and Programme Sponsor: Mike Forster

Lead Cancer Manager and General Manager for Cancer, Palliative Care, End of Life Care and Infection Prevention: Laura Milburn

Consultant Radiologist and Programme Clinical Lead: Dr Adam Culverwell

Programme Manager – Early Diagnosis of Cancer: Aditi Bandyopadhyay

Useful links