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GPs to be named and shamed for missing cancer

The Health Secretary would like to name and shame GPs who fail to provide early diagnosis for cancer. Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Health, said that GPs must do better following a report from the NHS that showed over 25% of people who received a cancer diagnosis had been to their GP at least three times before being referred.
In addition to the naming and shaming of GPs, surgeries could be given a ranking to show their rate of cancer diagnosis, in a bid by the government to make the NHS, and the way it works, more accountable.Details could be published on the NHS website, with a red flag against those surgeries with a poor referral record, and a green flag for those surgeries and GPs who refer patients quickly.
The Royal College of GPs responded that the move would be unwise, as it could put a bigger strain on resources, because GPs will send healthy people to hospital to protect themselves and their surgeries from being named and shamed.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said this new idea would not help patients, adding that more should be done to increase the public’s understanding about cancer and its symptoms, instead. The BMA also concurred with the Royal College of GPs that any system of naming and shaming would simply result in referrals for all, which could in itself delay the diagnosis of people who did actually have cancer.
Whilst the NHS budget has been ring-fenced, no provision has been made for the rise in inflation, and with the UK economy growing faster than in any other developed country in Europe, perhaps this is the time for additional financial investment to assist doctors in improving their early cancer diagnoses.
If you or a family member has experienced a delay in your cancer diagnosis, speak to us. We are experienced medical negligence lawyers and can give you the professional advice you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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