Bupa has introduced a self-referral service that enables people experiencing cancer symptoms to see a specialist consultant by bypassing their general practitioner (GP) appointments.

Known as Cancer Direct Access, the new service is available to Bupa’s health insurance customers. Bupa believes that the new facility will play an important role in improving early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The new service allows customers experiencing cancer symptoms to book an appointment a specialist consultant by calling the Cancer Direct Access team.

Bupa’s Cancer Direct Access service is provided by a team of specialist advisers who use the latest National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines to determine whether a customer should be referred to a specialist.

Leveraging the new service, customers can avail speedy access to diagnosis for a number of cancers including stomach, lung, testicular and bladder.

The launch of Cancer Direct Access builds on Bupa’s Direct Access service for breast and bowel cancer and covers some of the most common types of cancer.

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Bupa UK medical director Dr Steve Iley said: “One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, but the good news is that survival rates continue to improve.

“Early cancer detection can have a significant impact on an individual’s chance of survival, and reduces their need for complex and invasive treatment.

“However, we know that diagnosis and treatment are often delayed as people can’t find the time to book a GP appointment or worry about wasting the doctor’s time.

“Cancer Direct Access removes the need for a GP referral and allows customers to access specialist diagnosis services in a way that is easy and convenient for them.”

Customers who are diagnosed with cancer can access breakthrough drugs, advanced treatments and Bupa’s network of cancer specialist centres and hospitals. Additionally, they can opt for chemotherapy treatment which will be provided by a specialist nurse in their own home, if it is found clinically suitable.