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Breast Cancer. 2000;7(3):191-4.

Audit of a one-stop breast clinic--revisited.

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Department of Surgery, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London, EC1A 7BE, UK.



A one-stop diagnostic service has been available for women with symptomatic breast disease at St Bartholomew's Hospital for 5 years and was originally audited in May 1993. In re-auditing the one-stop service our aim was to see if our practice had improved following the original audit and to look at the impact which these changes in practice had made to the service offered to the patient.


A prospective audit of 4 consecutive clinics was undertaken in November 1997. A total of 300 patients (59 new and 241 follow up) were seen in clinic in this time. The primary outcome measure concerned the completeness of triple assessment in the 40 patients who required one stop investigations, including mammography, ultrasonography and fine-needle aspiration cytology. In addition, mean time to initial consultation and level of awareness of the one-stop facility and its attendant time delay were measured.


Of the 300 clinic attendees 40 (38 new, 2 follow-up) had one-stop investigations. As a result of the one-stop service being in practice, 36 patients (90%) had a definitive management decision made at their first outpatient visit. Of these 2 were symptomatic cancers, forming 5% of the workload. A total of 86% of the workload was benign. Four patients (10%) had equivocal results. The mean waiting time from designated appointment until surgical consultation was 36.7 minutes and was disappointingly unchanged from that of the previous audit. However this does not take into account the significant reduction in staffing levels which has occurred between the two periods of assessment.


The initial audit identified a significant problem with time constraints, necessitating that a large number of patients with carcinomas return at a later date for further investigations. Booking only new patients at the beginning of clinic has provided a solution. Disappointingly, our figures do not show a significant improvement in mean waiting time compared with the previous audit, despite allowing GPs greater access of referral. Encouragingly, we have been able to maintain a similar standard of provision of care despite lower staffing levels and to implement the changes suggested by the original audit (thereby closing the audit loop).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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