In The Information Age patients who can be more informed will have even more of an advantage over those who choose to remain ignorant or are unfortunate enough to be uneducated or unable to use/access the internet. Many doctors trained in an era of plenty, will blanche at the idea that their colleagues need this reference tool at all. But given that practices and primary care is being delivered more and more by nurses and nurse practitioners/para medics, the guidelines will be useful. As efficiency reduces, due to lack of sufficient numbers of well trained doctors, NHSreality predicts there will be more over-investigation and more poorer judgements in spending public money. This may well accelerate the demise of the UK health services. It will become harder and harder to justify covert rationing.
The NICE Suspected Cancer recognition and referral – symptom reference guide is now on line for anyone to read. First published June 2015, it was updated in November 2015.
The routes to diagnosis, in an ideal world, are clear, and regions with poor waiting times and access to specialist services will see the poorest results. This means patients will by pass the health service and inequalities will rise.