Professor Mike Richards, the Department of Health's National Cancer Director, has said that in five years every family doctor will have a computer tool to help decide the risk of cancer in patients.
This will also help GPs asses as to who needs urgent cancer tests. He told a national newspaper that doctors are also humans; so it is impossible for them to retain a lot of information.
The computer diagnostic tool could lead to "better decision-making by GPs" but said family doctors would still have the final say about whether to refer a patient. The benefit of this will be that GPs will know who should be investigated and who shouldn't," he said. "It will also help patients to know that whether they are being reassured, or referred, or getting a test, that is the right thing to do."
The tool will take into account patient's age, weight and symptoms like fatigue or rectal bleeding into account before making an assessment. Patients could then be referred for emergency tests.