Cancer referrals to be made by pharmacists in NHS pilot scheme | News

Pharmacists are being given the power to refer patients directly to cancer specialists to speed up diagnosis.

The NHS will train chemists in England to spot “red flag” cancer symptoms, such as customers who report a persistent cough, and send them for tests and scans.

It is the first time that pharmacists have been allowed to refer patients directly to hospitals. At present people must get a referral from a GP, nurse or dentist before symptoms are investigated further.

A pilot scheme, starting later this year, is part of a drive to tackle the Covid backlog and meet an NHS target to diagnose 75 per cent of cancers early by 2028. The current figure is 54 per cent.

Hundreds of pharmacies across the country will

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