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What can we learn about diagnostic safety culture in cancer referral pathways, which will inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS?

Georgia Black

Dr Georgia Black

Level

Post-doctoral

Year awarded

2019

Host university

Department of Applied Health Research
University College London

Background

The NHS Long Term Plan has confirmed the future expansion of Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) for expedient cancer diagnosis, particularly for patients with non-specific symptoms. These are novel fast referral services, located in hospitals which are equipped to explain the cause of non-specific symptoms, rather than merely ruling out a specific cancer type2. This has the potential to improve the currently unsafe pathways for patients with low-risk symptoms, which deliver fragmented, delayed care. However, there is a lack of evidence for how to implement these services in order to achieve optimal patient safety, and thus improve health outcomes.

Approach

This is an ethnographic project to explore how these new services approach patient safety in cancer referral pathways in comparison with alternative pathways such as standard and urgent referral, and emergency routes, to inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS.

Research questions:

  • What can we learn about diagnostic safety culture in cancer referral pathways, which will inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS?
  • How is safety is practiced in cancer referral pathways with and without an RDC, and what is the impact on staff, patients and the wider cancer referral pathway?
  • How can we improve the culture of staff involved in diagnostic processes leading to diagnosis of cancer, thereby controlling / managing risk of delayed diagnosis?
Georgia Black

Dr Georgia Black

Level

Post-doctoral

Year awarded

2019

Host university

Department of Applied Health Research
University College London
Georgia has a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, an MSc in Forensic Psychology from the University of Surrey and a PhD in Health Services Research from King’s College London. She has been a researcher at UCL since 2011. View full bio