The impact of the introduction of a fast track clinic on ovarian cancer referral patterns


Orla M. McNally, Fellow in Gynaecological Oncology, Ward 43, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN, UK (e-mail:


The aim of this study is to review the referral patterns for ovarian cancer in the Grampian region of Scotland and assess the impact of a ‘fast track’ clinic on the patient journey. Population-based retrospective analysis of a gynaecological cancer database and patient case notes were used. After its inception, 13.5% of patients were referred through the fast track clinic and 83% were seen within 2 weeks. Thirty-six per cent of patients were admitted as emergencies, mainly surgical or medical. The median general practitioner-to-specialist time was 3 days (range 0–188 days). The median time to diagnosis prior to the fast track clinic was 23 days and 17.5 days after its introduction (P = 0.003). A population-based ovarian cancer referral pattern is presented. Median waiting times are short but do influence time to diagnosis as do referral through a non-cancer specialty and patient performance status. Rapid access through a gynae-oncology clinic has some impact but is underused.