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Improving blood disorder diagnosis

King’s Health Partners has launched a new joint Adult Haematology Referral Guide to support GPs in referring patients for blood disorder care. 

blood cellsHaematology consultants (doctors who deal with conditions of the blood) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts are working together to support GPs in referring patients with suspected blood disorders, so they can provide more effective patient care. 

According to the 2017 Cancer Patient Experience Survey published by NHS England, more than a third of blood cancer patients who visited their GP with symptoms before diagnosis needed to go three times or more before being referred to hospital, indicating a need to better support GPs with haematology referrals. 

Haematology consultants recognised there are a high number of unnecessary referrals for blood disorders and that many GPs would have had relatively little exposure to haematology care in their medical training. A learning needs survey also revealed 100% of GP respondents would welcome more support and resources to understand when, where and who to refer for haematology care. Consultants from Guy's and St Thomas' and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts, working as part of the King’s Health Partners Haematology Institute, have now agreed on a joint Adult Haematology Referral Guide, with local referral and contact details specific to each trust.  

The referral guide includes a list of suggested tests that should be carried out to confirm a blood condition, criteria for urgent referral and routine referral, and which clinic is best to refer to. There are two controlled versions of the guide, one for each trust. While the clinical content is the same, contact details and suggested clinics differ between the two site-specific versions. As well as the detailed guide, there’s a quick guide for easy reference that summarises the key points. 

The referral guide will better support GPs to identify and carry out appropriate initial investigations for routine conditions – so fewer patients will need to wait for a referral for a potentially unnecessary specialist outpatient appointment. The guide will also help GPs identify potentially serious or urgent blood disorders that need urgent referral, so patients can receive treatment faster. 

Adult Haematology Referral Guide 

View the King’s College Hospital Adult Haematology Referral Guide or see the quick guide to haematology.

View the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Adult Haematology Referral Guide or see the quick guide to haematology

Haematology consultants will also be delivering a series of education events based on the guide, with the first one taking place in September, register for a place here

Dr Sara Stuart-Smith and Dr Robin Ireland, Consultant Haematologists at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Gulnaz Shah, Consultant Haematologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said:

This simple and user-friendly referral guide has been made possible thanks to a unified approach and joined up guidance from all King’s Health Partners specialist haematology departments. The guide provides better support and advice to GPs which will help simplify an increasingly complex specialty. This will guide appropriate referrals for further investigation of blood disorders and free up haematology clinic time to allow appropriate patients to be seen promptly.
We look forward to meeting GP’s in person in September to discuss how they are finding using it and how we can support them further.

The King’s Health Partners Haematology Institute is aiming to bring together our strengths in clinical service, research, and education to deliver exceptional outcomes for haematology patients.