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New thyroid cancer pathway reduces waits for appointments and results

Patients receiving treatment for thyroid cancer at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) are benefitting from shorter waits for appointments and quicker result times thanks to the introduction of a new follow-up pathway.

The Cancer Patient Stratified Follow Up (PSFU) pathway reduces the number of outpatient appointments low-risk patients who have already received treatment for their thyroid cancer attend, freeing up consultant time for higher-risk patients

Following new national clinical guidance, and under the care of cancer nurse specialists, the PSFU pathway sees low-risk patients receive information through telephone appointment or letter.

Yvonne Harvey, clinical nurse specialist for head and neck and thyroid cancer lead, said: “This new pathway, which was introduced at the end of last year, is helping to relieve the pressure on UHNM’s ear, nose and throat consultants by reducing the number of outpatient appointments.

“By reducing the need for a trip to hospital when the patient is feeling well, results can now be shared quicker by phone and letter, and our consultants have more availability for higher-risk patients. Patient feedback to the new pathway is very positive and we’re already seeing an improvement to wait times in our service.

“Our low-risk patients are reassured they are not yet discharged from their consultant, they will have the same investigations, but now will not need to attend follow-up appointments to get the results of these. Patients are encouraged to continue to contact the team should they have any concerns or new symptoms.”