Our failure to make Doctors accessible is reducing the effectiveness of cancer treatments and killing Patients

Delayed Presentation of Cancer Symptoms lets blame it on the British Stiff Upper Lip

This new research led by UCL and King’s College London suggests that the British “stiff upper lip“, “Embarrassment” and Patient sentiment about “not wanting to waste their doctors’ time” are having an impact on the timeliness with which cancer symptoms are being recognised and diagnosis and treatment started.

It’s interesting to note that this comes after a recent call by the “Cancer Commissioning Strategy for London by NHS England” who on realising that “more than a quarter of cancers are being diagnosed in A&E or as an emergency referral” will be providing more funding for GPs in London to hire locums so that they can take time off from seeing their Patients to be trained “in the use of a computer tool (the Cancer Decision Support Tool program developed by the charity Macmillan) that can improve the detection of symptoms suggestive of cancer” as NHS England is claiming that delays in cancer diagnosis are leading to an extra 1,000 deaths in London per year.

My thoughts;

I’m surprised at the conclusions being arrived at here:

> Patients aren’t coming forward early because…

our failure to let Patients help us with documentation means that a prerequisite to sharing symptom information is the burden of having to make an appointment/take time off work/travel to a clinic/wait in a waiting room/etc
…they don’t know which symptoms are important and in their hope that they’ll pass they’ve become fixated on ignoring them
…they fear they’ll end up seeing an overworked Doctor who will interrupt them inside 18 seconds
in a world where you can communicate anytime anyplace with over 6 Billion people the bright lights of the time pressured consult room might not be the most conducive place to think about, share and have sensitive symptom information recorded

> Doctors are missing symptom information because…

…they are off on a training day trying to learn how to use outdated Windows 95 styled software
…they haven’t enough information and aren’t being given the time to collect it (read about this NHS Locum GP who admits GPs can no longer guarantee safe patient care as they are now required to consult with 60 Patients a day and ask yourself if you think these Patients are getting 36 seconds before they’re interrupted?)
…while they have the training they’re not getting enough experience because they are spending 40% of their time seeing Patients who could be managed remotely with modern clinically validated tools
…administrivia is at all time high and they haven’t got the patience to enter much more data into the computer (let Patients Help! Let Patients Help! Let Patients Help!)
“the 2000 year old model of healthcare is broken forever”

What do you think?

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