Letters

Grading referrals to specialist breast units

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7360.392 (Published 17 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:392

Guidance on referral needs to be evidence based

  1. Victoria L Allgar, senior research fellow in primary care oncology,
  2. Richard D Neal, Macmillan senior lecturer in primary care oncology,
  3. Shane W Pascoe, research fellow
  1. Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds, Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds LS2 9PL [email protected]
  2. Meanwood Group Practice, Leeds LS6 4JN
  3. Hedon, East Yorkshire HU12 8JD

    EDITOR—We were surprised at the amount of media interest in the data given by Thrush et al in their letter on grading referrals to a specialist breast unit.1 We have two main concerns. Firstly, the data presented do not support their conclusions. Secondly, the issue is not simply about the inappropriateness of general practitioners to determine urgency, but more about the development of evidence based guidance and general practitioners' adherence to this guidance.

    The authors say that the two week wait initiative is not ensuring that most patients with symptomatic cancer are seen within two weeks of referral. This is not supported by the data presented in that over half of patients (56%) found to have breast cancer were in fact referred as urgent cases. No data are presented concerning delays …

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