Why you have been referred to the RDC
Your general practitioner (GP), or an emergency department (ED) clinician, has referred you to the rapid access diagnostic centre at Friarage Hospital for further investigation of the symptoms you presented to them with.
The symptoms you have may be caused by a number of common conditions, but they could also be cancer so it is important for you to be seen quickly in order to fully investigate your symptoms.
Symptoms may include abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, persistent fatigue or loss of appetite. However, it is important to remember that even though you are being referred urgently, this does not necessarily mean that you have cancer.
An urgent referral means that you will be offered an appointment with a hospital specialist team as soon as possible after your GP / ED appointment. There are RDC clinics held throughout the week and, if you have come through your GP, you may be offered a provisional appointment whilst at the practice. You will receive a telephone call from the RDC team to confirm appointment dates and times within two working days of your referral.
It is likely that additional tests will be needed to help the clinical team make a diagnosis. These could include: blood tests, imaging tests such as a CT scan, endoscopy or other tests. The clinical team will discuss all of this with you beforehand.
How to get to the RCD
The clinic is based at Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, DL6 1JG.
There are a couple of parking spaces available to the RDC. Parking in these slots can be arranged with the RDC Cancer Care Coordinator as part of your confirmation of appointment.
If you cannot use public transport, drive or arrange your own transport, you may be able to use the ambulance service. South Tees patients should contact the Transport Information Service on 0345 045 0160, County Durham, Darlington and York patients should contact their GP practice.
What will happen at your RDC appointment
Prior to arrival at clinic, we will ask you some questions to check whether there is any possibility of COVID-19 infection. On the day you arrive at clinic, precautions will be taken to further minimise COVID-19 risks, such as temperature check, hand sanitiser and face masks. Staff in the clinic will be wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, apron and face mask.
In clinic, the RDC clinician will take a full clinical history and examine you. Further blood tests may be performed. A CT scan of your body and / or endoscopy may or may not be required.
If a CT scan is needed, we may arrange this ahead of your clinic appointment so the results can be discussed with you. However, if you are travelling some distance, we will try to arrange your tests and your appointment on the same day. If this is the case, it is possible that you may be at the hospital for several hours.
It is possible that you will be given a lot of information during your appointment. Therefore you may wish to bring a family member or friend with you. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, and social distancing measures, this must be arranged by strict prior arrangement with the team. You may also find it useful to write down any questions you want to ask during your appointment.
The results arising from any investigations will be discussed with you and explained in detail at your appointment. Should you have any concerns or queries after your appointment, the RDC cancer care coordinators provide a single point of contact for you on 01609 763338.
If there is no identified cause for your symptoms, you may be referred back to your GP. If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will be referred to the appropriate clinical team and you will receive support and details of all information you may need.
How to change or cancel an appointment
Your GP / ED clinician believes that your symptoms need to be investigated urgently so it is important that you are flexible and make every effort to attend the appointment you are given. However, if you are unable to make your appointment slot, please call a member of the RDC team on 01609 763338.
If you have any planned holidays on or around your clinic date, or are aware of anything that may prevent you from attending your appointment, then you must inform us without delay to ensure that future hospital appointments can be appropriately arranged.
Please always let us know if you cannot attend your appointment so that someone else can use the slot.
How to prepare for your appointment
Please bring a list of your current medication to your appointment.
We may need to do a physical assessment, so wearing easily removable and comfortable clothing is helpful.
You can eat and drink normally prior to attending the rapid diagnostic clinic unless you are specifically requested not to, for example if you are attending for CT on the same day.
If you require any specific investigations, instructions regarding these would be provided by the team at the time the appointment is confirmed. If you require a CT scan, the radiology department will contact you to arrange this appointment and provide any instructions.
After your appointment
We will telephone you, or sometimes bring you back to clinic, to discuss the results of your investigations. Depending on the results, you will either be referred back to your GP with recommendations or your care will be passed on to another clinical team within the hospital.
Your symptoms and the results of your tests will be discussed at a multi-specialist team meeting to ensure that you are receiving the best and most appropriate care and investigations.
We will provide you with the results of your assessments and tests so you can discuss them with your GP and family. We will communicate with your GP to ensure your care is managed together with any other individual medical and support needs.
If you have any questions after your appointment, the RDC cancer care coordinators provide a single point of contact for you on 01609 763338.
Patient feedback is important to us to develop our service. Following your appointment you will be sent a link to complete a patient experience questionnaire – you will be asked for your consent to do this.
Patient information leaflet
Your GP may provide you with a leaflet in the surgery. However, if you do not receive a leaflet, you can download one here:Rapid diagnostic service leaflet