Manchester University Foundation Trust: The RAPID (Rapid Access to Pulmonary Investigations and Diagnosis) Programme

Lung cancer is the biggest cause of premature death in Greater Manchester, claiming more lives than any other disease or all cancers combined. It was in this context that members of the multidisciplinary lung cancer team at Wythenshawe Hospital redesigned pathways to enable speedier diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

The RAPID (Rapid Access to Pulmonary Investigations and Diagnosis) Programme has enabled next day access to CT imaging following a suspected referral for lung cancer. If cancer is confirmed, this is reported the same day. Any subsequent tests are scheduled in a single visit where possible.

The result is that the lung cancer pathway time has significantly reduced. Some 45 per cent of patients now start treatment within 28 days; 82 per cent within 50 days; and 94 per cent within 62 days. Two week wait and 31 day breaches have been eliminated. And when cancer isn’t present, this can now be confirmed on the day of CT scan – previously, it took an average of six days.

Prior to the RAPID Programme, no patients had a CT scan within four days from the two week referral. Now, 78 per cent of patients do. Perhaps little wonder, then, that 93 per cent of patients rate the RAPID service as eight out of 10 or better.

The team believes the improvements can be replicated in other organisations, and staff have already presented to interested parties locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. They have also hosted visits from other teams in England.

Read a detailed case study about this project at HSJ Solutions


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  • Manchester University FT, Macmillan Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Project
  • Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, Diagnostic Imaging Department – Ambulatory Lung Biopsy Pathway
  • Principia Partners in Health multispecialty community provider, Rushcliffe Elective Care Community Pathways Redesign
  • The Ipswich Hospital Trust (now part of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS FT), OPAT Service Development
  • The Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust (part of the Northern Care Alliance and Rochdale Borough Council), Discharge to assess: Home in a day team
  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn FT, Launch of Midwife Led Pathway


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