Response from Department of Health to letter with 850 signatures to Jeremy Hunt about “naming and shaming”

Our ref: DE00000872042  

  Dear Dr Dawlatly, 

  Thank you for your emails of 7 and 8 July to Jeremy Hunt, with a petition attached, about the recent announcement that data about GPs who fail to diagnose cancer in their patients will be published online.  I have been asked to reply. 

I note your concerns about the proposed scheme.

 The Government recognises the vital role GPs play in the health service.  It also knows how hard GPs work to provide good quality care, and ministers expect GPs to use their clinical judgement in referring patients to cancer services.

 The Department is looking at a range of different ways to increase the early referral of patients with symptoms of cancer.  This includes being transparent about GP referral data, which ministers hope will help to improve consistency and cancer survival rates across the health service. However, the proposals for such a scheme have not yet been finalised.

 Generally, the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance of survival.  This is why the Department has invested more than £450million of additional funding to achieve the earlier diagnosis of cancer.  This funding is designed to support better GP access to key diagnostic tests and to meet the costs of additional tests and treatment in secondary care.  It also supports the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns, which aim to raise awareness of potential cancer symptoms and encourage people to visit their GP.

 I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Yours sincerely, 
  
Lindsey Cox 
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health 

You can contact the DoH yourself via: 

http://www.info.doh.gov.uk/contactus.nsf/memo?openform

I plan to write a response sometime soon…

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