Collaborating to inform the delivery of rapid diagnosis models for people with suspected cancer in Wales

Organisation/institution: Swansea Centre for Health Economics (SCHE), Swansea University.

Key contact: Dr Berni Sewell, SCHE

What was the question that HCEC could help with?

In the summer of 2018 (updated in early 2020), HCEC researchers at SCHE established the cost-effectiveness of a novel pilot rapid diagnosis centre (RDC) at Neath Port Talbot hospital that reduced time to diagnosis for people with non-specific symptoms that could be due to cancer from 84 days to 6 days and was cost saving compared to usual care. As a result of our evaluation, the RDC has become a core service in Swansea Bay University Health Board, enabling patients who previously did not fit any cancer pathway to receive timely diagnosis, reducing anxiety and stress and empowering them.

What are HCEC doing?

Following the success of the local RDC, the RDC model is now rolled out across Wales as a way to improve patient care and outcomes and work more efficiently. Furthermore, the Moondance Cancer Initiative has made available funding to expand the RDC model to site-specific cancers, including colorectal cancer in younger patients and head and neck cancers. HCEC researchers at SCHE are funded to undertake the evaluation of these new patient pathways which are hoped to improve patient care and cost-effectiveness of cancer services. Also, Cancer Research UK is funding the development and evaluation of a new prostate cancer pathway, with HCEC undertaking the health economic evaluation.

What is the expected impact?

This continuing programme of work has the potential to transform cancer services in Wales and beyond to reduce waiting times and improve patient care, patient outcomes and the use of scarce NHS resources.