Exploring public attitudes towards the new Faster Diagnosis Standard for cancer

The Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) is a new policy in which patients should have cancer diagnosed or ruled out with 28 days of referral, which will be introduced in England in 2020. Using 90-minute focus groups, public attitudes towards the FDS within the context of recent referral experiences was explored. Participants aged over 50 without a current cancer diagnosis who had completed specific diagnostic tests in the last 6 months were recruited. Most had experienced swift referral, and it was difficult for participants to understand how the new standard could impact upon time progressing through the system. Responsibility for meeting the standard was also a concern: participants did not see their own behaviours as a form of involvement. The standard legitimised chasing for test results, but 28 days was considered too long.

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