GPs will be encouraged to order cancer tests to ensure tumours are spotted before they become inoperable. They will now be able to refer patients with possible symptoms of the disease directly for checks, avoiding the time-wasting formality of going through a specialist.
This saving of time in diagnosis and consequent treatment can be crucial. The UK still has some of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe, largely because cancer is too often spotted too late for anything to be done about it. Almost a quarter of cancer cases are only spotted when patients undergo emergency treatment.