Patients with colorectal cancer A qualitative study of referral pathways and continuing care

Mark F. Harris, Shane Pascoe, Lisa Crossland, Justin Beilby, Craig Veitch, Allan Spigelman, David Weller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This article explores the views of general practitioners on their referral of colorectal cancer patients following diagnosis to specialist surgeons. Methods: Sampling was purposive. Nineteen GPs representing urban and rural areas participated in four focus groups. Results: General practitioners viewed their relationship with surgeons to be of prime importance in the decision about whom to refer. This relationship allowed faster referrals and improved feedback from the specialist to the GP. General practitioners preferred referral to the private health services because they perceived delays in the public system and that referral and communication was easier with private specialists. Neither the volume of colorectal cancer work nor the availability of a multidisciplinary team influenced their decision making. Discussion The relationship and communication between GP and surgeon are important in facilitating the referral pathway and the continuing role that many GPs would like to have in the care of their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-902
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • General practitioners
  • Qualitative research
  • Referral and consultation


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