Update on the implementation of the Faecal Immunochemical Test

GP's across the South West of England are now able to access the Faecal Immunochemical Test a new diagnostic test for the assessment of patients presenting with lower abdominal symptoms, who are classed as "low risk" but not "no risk," of cancer.

The test should be offered to patients without rectal bleeding, who are:

  • Over 50 with unexplained abdominal pain or weight loss
  • 50 to 60 with changes in bowel habit or iron-deficiency anaemia
  • 60 or over with anaemia without iron deficiency
  • Samples from patients that do not meet the above criteria will not be analysed. Please note that patients under 50 years old are not currently eligible for this test.
  • Samples that are not accompanied by a fully completed test referral form will be returned. GP's should ensure the referral form (which is inside the pack) states the referral criteria, requesting location, or QF number, and patient details, and replaced back inside the pack for the patient to send off with the kit.
  • Patients do not need to be offered the test if they are already eligible for the suspected colorectal cancer referral pathway.
  • Packs should not be stored in individual GP practice rooms, they should be stored centrally in the practice to preserve shelf life and manage stock control.

Summary of Metrics (Early insights)

Results from June 18th – October 18th 2018
Metrics Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon & Gloucestershire
(SWAG Cancer Alliance)
Devon and Cornwall
(Peninsula Cancer Alliance)
Overall Total
Volume of samples received 1334 1225 2559
Volume of positive tests
218 135 353
% of positive tests 16% 11% 14%

Patient Feedback

  • "I just put it in an envelope, the instructions were easy to understand. I live three miles from the GP but the post box is 300 metres away. I think this is an excellent".
  • "This sounds like an excellent idea to me. From a patient point of view, providing a stool sample is much less intimidating and time consuming than going for a colonoscopy. Together with the huge differential in cost, this seems like an absolute no brainer to me."
  • "I think this is an excellent way of testing for bowel cancer & one I'm sure the majority of people would be happy to do."

GP Feedback

We would like to hear GP views on the implementation and use of the test. You can provide feedback by completing our online survey here

Re-ordering stock

To order more kits please email:

Do not contact your local laboratory they will not hold stocks. Replacement kits should be with you within 5 days.

Further information

If you need more information about qFIT testing you can:

Author: Peninsula Cancer Alliance and SWAG Cancer Alliance

Published: December 2018


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