Rapid Diagnostic Pathway for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a common cancer that, if diagnosed and treated early, has a higher survival rate in adults. Colorectal cancer can also be called colon cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer, depending on where the cancer starts.

You can find more information about colorectal cancer here .

LTH have been working with GP practices and other partners to enable the referral of patients to our new Colorectal Rapid Diagnostic Pathway if they feel they have worrying symptoms that require further investigation by a hospital colorectal specialist team. This team will then provide a tailored pathway of clinically relevant diagnostic tests as quickly as possible – to either rule out cancer, or ensure cancers are caught as early as possible.

The Colorectal Rapid Diagnostic Pathway is underpinned by 7 key components;

  • Early Identification
  • Timely Referral
  • Broad Assessment of Symptoms
  • Coordinated Testing
  • Timely Diagnosis of Patients Symptoms
  • Appropriate Onward Referral
  • Excellent Patient Coordination and Support


You can find more information about the Rapid Diagnostic Pathway model and NHS Long term Plan from the NHS publication:


The Diagnostic Process: What to expect on the Rapid Diagnostic Pathway for Colorectal Cancer at LTH

Your GP will refer you quickly and easily to the Colorectal Rapid Diagnostic Pathway Team by using an electronic referral form including information from recent blood test and FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Testing) results.

Once your referral has been received an Advanced Specialist Practitioner (ASP) will assess all your information and you will either receive a telephone call or a clinic appointment to discuss your symptoms in more depth. We suggest you inform the Advanced Specialist Practitioner about any medication you are taking.

During this telephone call or clinic appointment, the Advanced Specialist Practitioner will discuss the investigations you require. These investigations may include a colonoscopy (which visualises the entire lower intestine including the colon), a Computed Tomography (CT) (which can visualise the lower and upper intestines) and/or a flexible sigmoidoscopy (which views the lowest part of the bowel).

You should receive a call between two to seven days after your first consultation to confirm your availability for the tests; this will be followed by a letter once a date has been confirmed with you.  If you are unable to attend your appointment, you should let us know as soon as possible so we can offer this appointment to someone else.

Reviewing your results

Following your investigations, a review of the results will take place.

If further investigations are required to rule out cancer or serious diagnosis then you will be contacted by the appropriate diagnostic team to inform you about the next steps.

You will be informed of any cancer or other serious diagnosis by a face-to-face consultation. If you need to be seen by another specialised service within the hospital then the Rapid Diagnostic Pathway team will refer you and let your GP know what is happening.

All non-cancer and non-serious diagnoses will be provided to you by letter. We will let your GP know your results along with advice and management of your symptoms if required.

We aim to inform you of your diagnosis within 28 days however if further investigations are required this may sometimes take a little longer.

What should I do if I haven’t heard anything about my referral?

If you have not had a telephone contact from the hospital within 7  working days (Monday to Friday) of seeing your GP, ring the outpatient booking centre on 01772 523772. If the hospital has not received your referral for any reason, you will be advised to contact your GP immediately. If you require an interpreter at your appointment, please inform the Central Lancashire Booking Team using the telephone number above.

Other information:

It is essential to ensure that your GP has your correct day time telephone and mobile phone numbers, as well as your correct postal address.

If you have been asked to provide a blood test prior to your urgent appointment please ensure this is done within 24 hours or by the next working day.

Leaflets in alternative languages or formats:

If you require an interpreter at your appointment, please inform the booking team using the telephone number 01772 523772 or please visit:


Referral Information for Health Professionals

Who can access the Rapid Diagnostic Pathway for Colorectal Cancer at LTH?

The Rapid Diagnostic Pathway is currently open to referrals from patients within Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston. GP referrals can be made to the Colorectal Rapid Diagnostic Pathway Team by using eRS including information from recent blood test and FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Testing) results.

Criteria for referral:

Please use the recommendations in this NICE Pathway to guide referrals.


If you are unsure and would like to discuss a patient before referral, please access the advice and guidance tool to speak to a member of the colorectal team.

Note for GP’s: All referrals are triaged prior to acceptance. If a referral is more appropriate for another service, we will advise of this before rejection on the system