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NHS outpatient waiting lists could be reduced by nurse-led service

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Outpatient waiting lists and other NHS costs could be reduced by a nurse-led follow up service that visits patients in their own home, suggests a study from the Netherlands.

Over a two year period, 109 patients were randomised to standard medical follow-up at an outpatients clinic or by regular home visits by a specialist nurse, following surgery for oesophageal or gastric cancer.

There were no differences in occurrence of recurrent tumour growth or survival between the groups. But the cost of the nurse-led group appeared to be lower, with patients less frequently admitted to hospital. It was also more popular with the spouses of patients.

‘We speculate that this type of follow-up could also be an attractive alternative to standard follow-up of patients with other types of cancer,’ the authors said.

British Journal of Cancer (2009) 100: 70-76

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