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Safety NETting in general practice for diagnosing or ruling out CAncer (CASNET): an interview study with patients and general practitioners.

What is this study about?

GPs use a technique called safety-netting to ensure their patients come back to the surgery for a follow-up appointment. This is very important when patients have symptoms that could lead to an important diagnosis such as cancer. Safety-netting can be done in a variety of ways, such as the GP giving advice about which symptoms to look out for and after how long to come back, or by the GP practice having computer systems that highlight abnormal test results and patients who have not attended their appointment. Safety netting is recommended in national guidelines but there are no clear descriptions of which are the most effective ways to safety net.

Our research aims to understand GPs’ current practice of safety netting and the views of GPs and patients towards it. We will interview about 25 GPs and 25 patients in Oxfordshire about experiences of safety netting that:

  • led to cancer not being diagnosed, and
  • led to cancer being diagnosed.

We will use the interviews to:

  • understand real life experiences from both the GP’s and patient’s point of view,
  • identify factors that may lead to the success or failure of safety netting,
  • explore GP and patient views on safety netting in relation to possible cancer,
  • inform the development of international recommendations on safety netting in relation to cancer diagnosis in primary care. 

Study progress - Recruitment closed

Contact the research team

For further information or to take part, contact Brian Nicholson and Julie Evans.