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Episode 166 – Referral decisions for younger people with suspected cancer and system barriers in general practice

 

In this episode, we talk to Dr Erica di Martino, a Research Fellow based within the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds.  We’re here to speak about the paper she’s published alongside her co-authors, titled, ‘Understanding General Practitioners’ referral decisions for younger patients with symptoms of cancer: a qualitative interview study’.

Title of paper: Understanding General Practitioners’ referral decisions for younger patients with symptoms of cancer: a qualitative interview study

Available at: https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2023.0304

Some cancers are becoming more common in younger people, yet clinical guidelines often recommend urgent referral for suspected cancer only if patients are above a certain age.  Findings from this study show that, whilst most GPs interpret age criteria in cancer guidelines flexibly, some perceive and apply them as firm directives. In addition, system constraints may create unwarranted rigidity and act as barriers to prompt investigation. More in-built and explicit flexibility in the referral system is required to facilitate timely diagnosis of younger patients perceived as at higher risk by their GP.

The BJGP is the world-leading primary care journal. At BJGP Life we add multi-media comment and opinion for the primary care community.

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