Patients in Bradford with symptoms linked to cancer are set to benefit from a £750,000 funding award.

Over the next few months, cancer specialists plan to start rolling out four projects which will all have a positive impact on local patients, according to Jonathan Robinson, lead cancer clinician for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The money is a share of £4.5 million being allocated from West Yorkshire and Harrogate’s Cancer Alliance to five NHS hospital Trusts for 11 projects.

The projects were all given the go ahead this week and will receive funding from the Capacity for System Change Fund.

Dr Robinson said: “I’m delighted that the Cancer Team in Bradford has been successful in gaining almost £750,000 funding for a number of projects from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance that will have a really positive impact on our local patients who have symptoms that might suggest cancer. We hope to start rolling out each project over the next few months.”

The team, made up of cancer specialists from the Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group commissioners, identified four key areas where the funding could have an immediate effect on cancer care. The funding will be used to set up a Vague Symptoms service that GPs can refer into when they suspect a patient might have an underlying cancer, but the actual cause is not obvious. Diagnostic tests will be streamlined and patients will be directed to the correct specialist for treatment.

The money will also be used to improve the current service given to patients with blood in their urine, speeding up investigations for suspected bladder of kidney cancer.

The cash boost will also be used to help in the early diagnosis of bowel cancer, which often has unremarkable symptoms until patients go to their GP and are found to have quite an advanced stage of disease. Specialists will use the funding to now start a rapid access process to cut the number of days it takes for patients to have a colonoscopy, avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. Finally, the funding will provide GPs with a new screening tool to test a patient’s stool sample for the presence of bowel cancer. It is called faecal immunochemical testing or FIT testing and is a far more sensitive test than has previously been available to GPs. The hope is to identify patients who need urgent investigations and also provide reassurance if the test is negative. Professor Sean Duffy, Clinical Director and Cancer Alliance Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate, said: ‘This is fantastic news for patients. Faster and better diagnosis can be lifesaving and the use of evidence based medicine and clinical research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients is a priority.

“We will also be making the most of learning from other areas who have led on this important area of work. All of this will give us the opportunity to tackle the big cancer issues together across health and social care services which will ultimately improve life chances for people living in West Yorkshire.’