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GIRFT launches new specialty review into services for pancreatic cancer patients

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has appointed a team of five specialist clinicians to lead a national review into services for pancreatic cancer patients in England.

The new workstream supports the delivery of the Optimal Care Pathway, a Pancreatic Cancer UK-led initiative which has brought together 300 health professionals and people affected to agree on how standards of diagnosis, treatment and care of those with pancreatic cancer and their families can be improved.

GIRFT’s national review of services will involve data-driven deep dives at all specialist centres and their referring hospitals in England, identifying their progress against the recommendations in the Optimal Care Pathway. It will highlight actions the NHS providers need to take to improve services, as well as gathering examples of good practice to share with other NHS teams and the NHS England Cancer Programme.

A resulting national report will outline the extent of variation across England and provide recommendations to improve processes and approaches to achieve better ways of working to improve outcomes.

The five clinicians appointed to lead the GIRFT review are:

  • Dr Raneem Albazaz (clinical lead), a consultant radiologist at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, and a former secretary of the British Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (BSGAR).
  • Professor Daniel Palmer (clinical lead), north-west Cancer Research chair and honorary consultant in medical oncology at the University of Liverpool.
  • Dr Ganesh Radhakrishna (clinical lead), a consultant clinical oncologist and oesophago-gastric and hepato-pancreato biliary tumour site lead at the NHS England Proton Beam Centre at The Christie Hospital, Manchester.
  • Professor Keith Roberts (clinical lead), a hepato-pancreato biliary and liver transplant surgeon at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust and honorary professor at the University of Birmingham.
  • Claire Pearce (clinical nurse specialist), a Macmillan hepato-biliary and pancreatic clinical nurse specialist at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK, with around 10,500 people diagnosed every year. It is the deadliest common cancer; over half of people die within three months of diagnosis.

"We know that pancreatic cancer can sometimes be diagnosed late in patients due to the variation in non-specific symptoms. Earlier diagnosis is imperative in improving treatment options and survivorship, so this review has wide-reaching implications for the thousands of people diagnosed with the disease every year. I look forward to seeing how this group of experienced clinicians work with our cancer providers to identify any unwarranted variation, share models of good practice and ultimately make a real difference to patient outcomes.”

"This review is a crucial step in better understanding the diagnosis, treatment and care that people with pancreatic cancer in England receive. It will provide invaluable insights and enable us to identify where variations in care exist that will ultimately enable us to transform outcomes for patients. The dedication of the clinical specialists leading this important initiative is truly inspiring. We look forward to working with them all to help ensure everyone affected by this devastating disease receives the very best care wherever they live.”

Pancreatic Cancer UK is holding an event on October 19 on the GIRFT review and the Optimal Care Pathway initiative. Click here to find out more.

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