Background: The rising incidence of cancer and increasing number of cancer survivors place competing demands on specialist oncology clinics. This has led to a need to consider collaborative care between primary and secondary care for the long-term post-treatment care of cancer survivors.
Objective: To explore the views of breast and colorectal cancer survivors, their oncologist and GP about GPs taking a more active role in long-term cancer follow-up care.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews using a thematic analysis framework. Respondents were asked their views on the specialist hospital-based model for cancer follow-up care and their views on their GP taking a greater or leading role in follow-up care. Researcher triangulation was used to refine the coding framework and emergent themes; source triangulation and participant validation were used to increase credibility.
Results: Fifty-six interviews were conducted (22 patients, 16 oncologists, 18 GPs). Respondents highlighted the importance of GPs needing specialist cancer knowledge; the need for GPs to have an interest in and time for cancer follow-up care; the GPs role in providing psychosocial care; and the reassurance that was provided from a specialist overseeing care. A staged, shared care team arrangement with both GPs and specialists flexibly providing continuing care was found to be acceptable for most.
Conclusion: Collaborative care of cancer survivors may lessen the load on specialist oncology clinics. The findings suggest that building this model will require early and ongoing shared care processes.