The Pilot

The RCDS (previously Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre) was launched in June 2021. NHS Fife was one of three health boards selected by the Scottish Government to pilot Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Services.

The RCDS model is designed to provide primary care with fast-track access to diagnostic testing for patients with ‘vague’ symptoms which could indicate cancer. Patients are provided with holistic care that puts them at the centre of investigations and any treatments which may be required.

Patients are supported at every step of their journey on the diagnostic pathway, from point of referral to discharge, by a single point of contact. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, patients are supported as they transition to their appropriate specialist pathway from the RCDS.  Where further investigations are needed, the RCDS will help to arrange tests and/or refer patients on to the best team to take forward their care. Most RCDS patients can be reassured and discharged back to the care of their GP.

NHS Fife has embraced the RCDS model since its commencement. We marked our 1000th referral into the service, just into the second year of the pilot. Each pilot site is independently evaluated to ensure best practice and long-term feasibility. The interim evaluation reported that “more than 12% of patients cared for by one of Scotland’s three Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service[s] received an early cancer diagnosis, with a further 33.8% receiving a diagnosis of a non-cancerous health issue”.

You can read an interim report about the first year of the RCDS sites on the Centre for Sustainable Delivery’s website.

The RCDS also team regularly communicates and delivers education sessions with your community healthcare teams so you can be assured that all colleagues are up-to-date with the latest developments with rapid diagnostics at NHS Fife.