Best Timed Pathways

In 2019, Greater Manchester Cancer started work on the implementation of three best timed cancer pathways, for lung, colorectal and prostate. The NHS planning guidance for 2019-20 made the following statement:

“All providers must start to collect the 28-day Faster Diagnosis Standard data items in 2019/20, in preparation for the introduction of the Standard in 2020. Organisations, working through their Alliances, should use the data items to improve time to diagnosis, in particular for lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.”

Aims and Objectives

Thee overall aims and objectives of the work was to reduce the time between referral and treatment and provide all patients with a clear diagnosis within 28 days of referral by their GP. In addition, this should also provide a clearer pathway for patients with fewer visits to healthcare settings and enhanced communication.

The NHSE best timed cancer pathways include rapid diagnostic principles and straight to test pathways. The GM Cancer projects commenced in April 2019 and concluded in March 2021. Each was a multi-stakeholder effort, including patients and carers affected by cancer and advising the project Diagnostic Sub Groups, Pathway Boards and further supporting and assisting with the development and creation of patient experience surveys.

Despite the critical impact of COVID-19, these pathways have now been achieved and implemented across Greater Manchester. The introduction of new Pathway Navigator teams across all three pathways has led to improved support for patients and their carers during their diagnostic and treatment journey

Figures from the lung project show that:

Wordcloud made up of words from Lung best timed pathway patient feedback

Feedback from the prostate programme reports:

Wordcloud from the prostate best timed pathway patient feedback

Best timed pathways are now also in development for Oesaphago-GastricSkin, Head and Neck and Gynaecological cancers.

Accelerated Pathways – User Feedback

The feedback from patients on these new accelerated pathways, collected via patient surveys, has been hugely positive – over 99% of patients surveyed rated the overall experience as good, very good or excellent.

“Without the support of the navigator, I would definitely not have been able to attend all my appointments, thank you.” 

GM Lung Patient

“As I live so far from the hospital I was amazed that my consultation, blood tests, radiotherapy planning scan and mould room appointments were arranged for the same day, I was very happy, this was a huge help and I think this helped me start my treatment sooner, thank you.”

GM Lung Patient

“It is incredibly rewarding to have made a contribution to those patient journeys in the talks I have given and in speaking with health professionals so that they understand how to deliver the best care possible to provide the best outcomes.”

Nic Clewes, GMC Service User Representative, Lung Project

“Being sent on a cancer pathway can be really daunting in itself but the complexity of appointments in different departments in a hospital that to the patient is a big building with a thousand phones just adds to the stress, the pathway navigator means one point of contact so one less thing to worry about”

It’s been great being part of the best timed prostate pathway steering group, using my experience as a patient to help make the pathway as easy as possible for future patients to follow.”

Mike Thorpe, User Involvement Representative, Prostate Project
Wordcloud from colorectal best timed pathway patients