Designing a pathway to provide direct referral from GP to breast care nurses (BCNs)

Currently, an audit is underway to understand where the last 12 months referrals received by the local Northern Sydney Breast Care Nurses (BCN) are coming from and the time from diagnosis to first contact.

As literature suggests, early referral to the BCN can be beneficial to reduce stress, provide care coordination, correct any information misinterpretations,  support and reduce anxiety in those women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

The McGrath Foundation has three BCN’s in Northern Sydney LHD available to receive referrals from patients and GPs. Currently no formal referral pathway exists.  We are looking to introduce a referral pathway with the help of the GP network. The role and scope of the BCN is not well understood and varies across health districts, and health facilities. This referral package will provide information on how BCNs can assist GPs’ patients navigate breast cancer diagnosis. We will be seeking feedback on the information provided to better understand if it is successfully meeting the needs of GPs and obtain improvement recommendations.

On completion of the audit, in conjunction with assistance of the HPN education package, a referral process will be designed for electronic downloading and emailing to the relevant BCN nurse. The BCN will then make contact with the GP’s patient and begin their professional relationship. Should patients not wish to be referred to the BCN, the BCNs brochure can be simply handed to the patient, enabling the patient to contact the BCNs in the future, if they choose to.

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