Primary Care News

Roll-out of new digital platform to detect early signs of cancer

The North of England will roll out a new digital platform that helps GPs detect the early signs of cancer.

The Gateway-C platform is already being used in 73% of GP surgeries in Greater Manchester and eastern Manchester and Health Education England (HEE) is now funding a rollout programme to extend it across the rest of the region.

Seven cancer alliances in the North of England will now use the system. The seven alliances bring together clinical leaders from across the cancer pathway in a specific locality to improve patient outcomes.

Gateway-C was developed by Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation, led by Dr Catherine Heaven, associate director of the School of Oncology at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Heaven said “We’re delighted to be given the go-ahead by HEE because it’s an endorsement of all the hard work our team has put into the project. We’ve long acknowledged in Greater Manchester that our rates of early diagnosis must improve, and Gateway-C goes some way to achieving that. We know the platform is popular: during a pilot study last year we found that 95 per cent of GPs felt it helped them with referrals. Now we hope the rest of the region will discover how valuable it can be.”

Gateway-C was designed to support GPs in building better communication with their patients, encouraging them to disclose symptoms, and to become more confident in making decisions about referrals.

The system includes a number of courses which feature interactive films based on real consultations, and other resources about cancer risk, symptoms, decision-making and education. Primary care staff in Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire can access the learning zone to take courses that support the early diagnosis of lung, colorectal and pancreatic cancer.

In Greater Manchester, around 28% of cancer patients are diagnosed in A&E departments meaning that a high proportion are a diagnosed at a late stage.