New research by Public Health England shows that the number of people being diagnosed with cancer during an A&E visit is decreasing.

Results taken from the latest Routes to Diagnosis data were presented at the recent Public Health England conference in Warwick and show that in 2006 almost 25% of cancers were diagnosed in an emergency visit, but this figure had fallen to 20% in 2013. Liver and pancreatic cancer were cited as exceptions where diagnosis still often occurred in A&E.

Alongside these findings, there has also been an increase in urgent specialist referrals from GPs. This protocol ensures that patients are seen by specialists within two weeks when cancer is suspected in an attempt to diagnose the disease as early as possible and give patients the best chance of survival.

Michael Burrell, a senior clinical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office, said: “Early diagnosis is key in the battle against cancer as the chance of survival is three times higher if a diagnosis is made early, so it is positive to see more patients being diagnosed following GP referrals.

“However, many patients with pancreatic and liver cancer are still being diagnosed during emergency visits which indicates that more work needs to be done to ensure that there is a consistent level of referral and diagnosis for all types of cancer.

“The government needs to take heed of these new results and ensure that our GPs are getting the correct funding and support they need to carry on the progress that has been made to date.”