Delivery of cancer genetics services: The Royal Marsden telephone clinic model
We have conducted a telelink telephone-led cancer genetic counselling model at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The study commenced in March 2004 and evaluation of the clinic was conducted over 17 months from March 2005 to the end of July 2006. A total of 612 patients had telephone consultations during this time, 228 of whom were referred from primary care with a median of 30 patients counselled per month (range of 19–63, depending on staff availability with average of two staff per clinic). Waiting times were measured for General Practitioner referrals and all 228 were counselled within the national target-stipulated 13 weeks (median 6 weeks, range 1–12). An additional 132 patients who were sent appointment letters after receipt of their family history questionnaires did not attend their appointments (18% of all potential referrals) and required recontacting by letter. After telephone counselling, 42% of patients were able to be discharged from the telephone clinic without a subsequent face-to-face appointment, thereby saving resources. The telephone clinic also had a short set-up time with flexibility on timing and day of administration, which would be an advantage in centres where outreach clinic facilities are scarce. The telelink telephone counselling model is highly efficient in triaging high risk individuals for face-to-face counselling as per the Kenilworth model, in effecting concentration of resources and in providing a flexible individual-centred approach to cancer genetic counselling delivery.
KeywordsCancer genetics Service provision Telephone counselling Triage
We are grateful to the Department of Health and Macmillan Cancer Support for funding this project. We are also very grateful to the patients and users of the service for their participation, and to the GPs, Consultant, counsellor and administration colleagues who interacted with the project, in particular: Liz Wright, Kushi Fernando, Femi Coker and Fiona Wheeler.
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