Northern Cancer Alliance Vague Symptoms Pathway. Evaluation report.

Grabrovaz, Meaghan ORCID logo ORCID: , Simpson, Glenn, Goodwin, Victoria ORCID logo ORCID: and Grimwood, Tom ORCID logo ORCID: (2019) Northern Cancer Alliance Vague Symptoms Pathway. Evaluation report. Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE). (Unpublished)

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In 2018, Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE) at the University of Cumbria was commissioned by the Northern Cancer Alliance (NCA) to evaluate the delivery of the NCA programme entitled ‘Vague Symptoms Pathway’ (VSP). The aim of this programme was to address a perceived problem for patients who present to their General Practice/Practitioner (GP), unwell, but with vague symptoms which do not neatly fit the two-week wait criteria. This creates a challenge for GPs in identifying an appropriate route forward into secondary care for those patients. The NCA offered a funding pot for some localities to bid into in order to pilot projects with the aim of creating and enabling expedited access to testing, and assessment for these patients, to establish whether further cancer investigations are required.

This evaluation work, which began in 2019, utilised a mixed-methods approach; using quantitative data collated from project returns and analysed using descriptive statistics, along with semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative data, which was then subjected to template analysis. The data collection was informed by a realist approach to evaluation; this aims to build an understanding about what works for whom, in what context and the mechanisms and outcomes around this.

The evidence illustrates that the overall aim of the programme is being met – clearly, the pathways present a highly appropriate and effective option to GPs when faced with a patient with vague symptoms. It is also evidenced via the quantitative and qualitative data that expedited access is generally being achieved, with those who are staffing the pathways and associated activities feeling very positive about their effect and potential. Importantly, that expedited access is reducing the time to diagnosis for patients, thus enabling more rapid care, for cancer, or identifying another condition.

Overall, the evaluation team feel that the pathways considered here, at their individual stages, are successful, that the programme has been well implemented and is delivering against its core aims. However, in all programmes, particularly those that are piloting new approaches, lessons can be learned and, with this mind, thirteen recommendations arose from this evaluation report.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Health and Social Care Evaluations (HASCE)
Departments: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Additional Information: This report has been written by HASCE, the University of Cumbria, working under commission to the Northern Cancer Alliance.
Depositing User: Laura Snell
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 09:18
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 10:02


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