The needs of general practitioners in the follow-up of patients with colorectal cancer

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2001 Sep;27(6):541-4. doi: 10.1053/ejso.2001.1106.


Background: Follow-up of colorectal cancer creates a large workload for National Health Service (NHS) clinics. We investigated what the requirements of the general practitioners of Teesside, UK would be in order to accept to participate in the follow-up of colorectal cancer.

Materials and methods: Postal survey questionnaire of all 278 GPs in 83 practices under Tees Health Authority, UK.

Results: The response rate was 59%. Forty three percent of GPs thought it would be a natural part of their work while 39% thought it was not their remit and fifty percent found the idea interesting, 37% thought it unrealistic and 8% considered it wrong. Their main reservations were work burden (60%), lack of guidelines (59%), lack of specialized knowledge (51%) and delays of re-referrals to specialists (41%). Their principal requirements in order to participate were guidelines (77%), fast routes of re-referral to specialists (72%), seminars to bring them up-to-date (50%) and open access to investigations such as colonoscopy (45%). From the respondents, 56% were keen to participate in further discussion on the issue.

Conclusion: A significant number of general practitioners wish to participate in the follow-up of colorectal cancer. Their principal requirements concern quality issues, including guidelines, up-to-date knowledge and delays in re-referring patients with recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom