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Safety netting to improve early cancer diagnosis in primary care

Published: 4th May 2011

These consensus guidelines identifies and prioritises the different components of safety netting in relation to cancer diagnosis in primary care.

Download: Safety netting to improve early cancer diagnosis in primary care

Diagnosis of cancer in primary care remains difficult due to the relative infrequency of cancer whereas symptoms are common and often nonspecific. Safety netting is a consultation technique used to ensure the timely re-appraisal of the patient’s problem.

Whilst the term safety netting is understood by many in clinical practice specific recommendations of what exactly to do have been lacking.

The guidelines offer high and intermediate priority recommendations, including

  1. specific actions to be communicated to patients
  2. actions that GPs should take during or shortly after the consultation, and
  3. procedures that should be implemented at the Practice level.

The provision of recommendations for GP consultations and for practices as whole should allow better understanding of the actual components of safety netting enabling improvements to delays in cancer diagnoses.

See also the following Cancer Research UK summaries of the guidelines:

  • Table style – summarises advice for communicating with patients, as well as safety netting actions for GPs and GP practice
  • Flowchart style – summarises safety netting actions through the diagnostic journey

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