Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIM: To facilitate implementation of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for urgent colorectal cancer referral, local cancer networks have promoted the use of standardized proformas in primary care. This clinical audit assessed use of the proforma within the Thames Valley Cancer Network (TVCN) to see whether increased proforma use was associated with higher compliance to NICE guidelines and higher cancer detection rates. METHOD: All 2-week wait referrals for lower bowel cancer to the six Acute NHS Trusts in the TVCN received during the month of June 2010 were identified, anonymized and analysed in relation to colorectal cancer detection rates. RESULTS: Of the 586 referrals audited, proforma usage varied significantly across the six Acute NHS Trusts from 18% to 96%. Referral letters from primary care had NICE compliance ranging from 30 to 50%. In those which received a referral protocol, 50-90% were NICE compliant. Proforma use was associated with higher cancer detection rates (P = 0.03). CONCLUSION: These results have wide-ranging implications since they suggest that the adoption of a simple proforma in primary care can improve the effectiveness of referral for suspected cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Colorectal Dis

Publication Date





1351 - 1356


Clinical Audit, Colorectal Neoplasms, Early Detection of Cancer, Guideline Adherence, Humans, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Primary Health Care, Records, Referral and Consultation, United Kingdom