The Royal Free London is one of 10 trusts in the country to be selected as a specialist centre for the rapid diagnosis of cancer.
NHS England today announced that the trust was to be developed as rapid diagnostic assessment centre, also known as a multi-diagnostic centre, which is a one-stop shop for cancer testing that will allow many patients to be diagnosed and start their treatment much sooner.
The announcement was made of part of a progress report NHS England’s Five Year Forward View – the five year strategy for health services in England.
Once the new system is up and running patients with suspected cancer will no longer have to wait for each test to be carried out on a separate occasion. Instead, the aim is to offer patients a range of tests, such as CT scans, blood tests and biopsies, during the same visit.
The trust will also be receiving a new radiotherapy machine, known as a linear accelerator or linac, early next year. The machine uses high-dose radiation to destroy or shrink tumours.
Derralynn Hughes, clinical director for haematology and oncology, said: “It is wonderful news that the trust is been designated a rapid diagnostic assessment centre. We know that diagnosing and treating patients with cancer as soon as possible will give them the best possible chance of good outcome.
“We have already developed a one-stop system for patients with prostate cancer and it has been working incredibly well. It means that we can quickly identify those patients who need prompt treatment and has created a more efficient system which benefits both patients and staff. Now we are able to roll this out to other cancers, such as colon and pancreatic cancer.
“We are also delighted that we will have a new linac machine next year, which means we can continue to offer our patients the very latest radiotherapy treatments.”
Image: Staff using one of the trust's current linac machines
Notes to editors
About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.