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Aims: Patients referred with red flag colorectal cancer symptoms are seen within 2 weeks of referral and require completion of treatment within 62 days of referral. The demand on resources is such that the remit of this rapid access pathway (RAP) is to diagnose or exclude cancer quickly. It is hypothesised that patients on these pathways are less likely to have their symptoms addressed and more likely to be dissatisfied with the service received.
Study Design: Questionnaire based study of all patients attending new colorectal outpatient appointments, both routine and RAP.
Place and Duration of Study: All patients referred the colorectal department at West Suffolk Hospital, a district general hospital, during January 2018 were sent a questionnaire 6 months later.
Methodology: Results were analysed for statistically significant differences between the two groups in relation to patient satisfaction.
Results: Of 273 new patients, questionnaires were returned by 78 patients attending rapid access clinics and 61 attending routine new appointments. There was no significant difference in the overall level of satisfaction with the overall investigation and management process between patients seen in rapid access clinics or routine new appointments (P = 0.867). Patients on the RAP were less likely to have been given a diagnosis (p = 0.001) or advice on managing their symptoms (P = 0.002). When assessing a number of variables, only patients whose symptoms had resolved were significantly more satisfied with the overall care pathway (P = 0.037).
Conclusion: Patients seen on the RAP are not less satisfied with their care.
Accessed on 4th January 2021.
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