Launch of the National Breast Cancer GP Referral Guideline

The NCCP are pleased to announce the roll out of the updated National GP Breast Referral Guideline, and accompanying updated eReferral form, which will commence on the 1st April 2021.

These guidelines have been decided upon based on the best available up-to-date evidence and will facilitate GPs in determining which patients with breast symptoms require referral to secondary care. It will also enable a more effective triage of patients within the Symptomatic Breast Disease (SBD) clinic.

 Key changes to note:

 Breast GP Key Changes

Background to the Breast referral process

There are eight SBD Clinics across Ireland (plus Letterkenny satellite), where approximately 40,000 new patients are referred by their General Practitioner (GP) each year.  The original Breast Referral guidelines were last updated in 2010.  As required by national standards for clinical practice guidance (DOH 2015) the guidelines have now been updated.  In conjunction with this, it is necessary to also update the current referral process to ensure that those women with symptoms most suspicious for breast cancer continue to be triaged and treated appropriately.

The new GP Referral Guideline was developed by a multidisciplinary stakeholder group, including GPs, representatives from SBD clinics and patients.

The guideline outlines clearly defined, evidence based algorithms, which will facilitate GPs in determining which patients with breast symptoms require referral to secondary care. This will ensure that patients who have symptoms suspicious of breast cancer and require urgent secondary care are referred and receive an appointment within an appropriate timeframe.

Where can I find out more?

The guideline is available on the NCCP website. Additionally, we have developed a short video which will provide you with an overview of the updated guideline.

The introduction of the new National Breast Cancer GP Referral Guideline and accompanying e-referral form will provide many benefits to all stakeholders. Prof. Risteárd Ó Laoide, National Director NCCP, outlined 

"It is a priority for the NCCP that all national cancer guidelines are developed using an evidence based approach, which aims to improve the outcome for patients diagnosed with cancer.  It is always our main goal to ensure patients are treated at the right time, in the right place and by the right people.”


Last updated on: 25 / 03 / 2021