Background:Cancer survival differs between countries. It depends not only on the treatment given but also on the speed of diagnosis. The time interval required to diagnose a suspected cancer depends on the responsiveness of primary care services to patients needing investigation. New Zealand study is a part of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) Module 3 that investigates whether differences in primary care component of cancer management influence cancer survival internationally.
Aim:1. To determine potential barriers to primary care access for the diagnosis of cancer, access to cancer investigations and specialist review
2. To assess GP knowledge and attitudes in management of suspected cancer
Methods:The nation-wide online survey collects data from (a) vocationally registered GPs; (b) general-registrant doctors; and (c) GP registrars. Respondents were invited using snowball sampling via Champions, GP e-newsletters and GP Conferences from May to September 2014. The questionnaire composed of three sections: 1. demographic data of the GP and practice; 2. clinical vignettes for lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers; 3. access to diagnostics and specialist services from primary care setting.
Results:Total of 235 GPs completed the survey. 77 % of the samples were vocationally-trained GPs while two thirds (67%) have >11 years in general practice. Up to 62% were locally trained GPs while 38% were trained overseas for primary medical degree. Preliminary analysis reveals that average consultation time in GP practice was 15 minutes (SD=3.5). Majority (94%) undertook continuing cancer education in the past year and about a third (27.3%) spent more than six hours.
Conclusions:The study explains the roles of primary care in cancer survival outcomes that are pivotal to improve cancer outcomes. The data of local cancer care pathways and services as well as from international benchmarking will identify solutions to improve access to diagnostics and referral services in primary care.