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NHS rolls out free cancer diagnosis training to Scottish pharmacists

A free online cancer education platform has been rolled out to pharmacists in Scotland, following a “successful launch” across England and Wales, the negotiator has announced.

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) announced earlier this month (May 3) that a “free online cancer education platform for primary care professionals” had launched across the country.

The rollout of Gateway C was commissioned by the Scottish government’s Detect Cancer Earlier (DCE) programme in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES), according to the platform’s website.

It follows a “successful launch” of the platform, which aims to improve cancer outcomes by helping early diagnosis, across England and Wales, it said.

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GatewayC supports clinical decision-making, earlier detection of cancer and improved management, care and support for people affected by the disease by offering a “wide variety” of “evidence-based” online education, it added.

This includes “interactive courses, webinars, podcasts, documentary-style videos, news and more”, it said.

Read more: Sun care and recognising skin cancer in the pharmacy

It was designed by the NHS and is available to “any member of the primary care clinical team” and “all primary care contractors across Scotland”, according to the website.

The resources can be repeatedly accessed, paused and resumed once users have completed the registration process, with over 40 CPD hours available, it said.


“Earlier and faster” diagnosis


Professor Sir Gregor Smith, chief medical officer (CMO) for Scotland, said that cancer “remains the largest burden of disease” across the country - with the number of cases “projected to rise by nearly one fifth by 2040”.

“GatewayC has been designed to support primary care clinicians facilitate earlier and faster cancer diagnosis,” he added.

Dr Douglas Rigg, co-chair of the Scottish primary care cancer group, said that “earlier diagnosis has a crucial role to play in improving cancer outcomes across Scotland”.

Read more: DH backs cancer vaccine research as landmark pharmacy screening pilot launches

“GatewayC is a free resource that incorporates the Scottish referral guidelines for suspected cancer in an interactive format to reinforce clinical decision making across a range of cancer courses, podcasts, webinars and more,” he added.

In September, a major report commissioned by Community Pharmacy England (CPE) recommended that a cancer detection and referrals essential service should launch in pharmacies “over the next five to 10 years”.

And in January 2023, the government announced a new partnership to boost research into vaccines for cancer in England, as community pharmacies in Cornwall began piloting a cancer screening service.

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