Colorectal Cancer Optimal Pathway Group

The group provides strategic oversight to improve colorectal cancer outcomes and patient experience across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. By taking a whole pathway and system wide approach, the group implements and supports:

  • Urgent responses to pressures that have recently occurred due to COVID-19.
  • National cancer priorities outlined in the in the NHS 5 Year Forward View and NHS Long Term Plan (screening, early diagnosis, delivery of the ‘Rapid Diagnostic Centres’ and Personalised Care Interventions.)
  • The development and updating of local clinical guidelines.

The group meets three times a year, culminating in an educational event, where shared learning and best practice is presented to a wider networked audience.

The group has delivered the following projects to date:

  • Achieved implementation of the National Optimal Colorectal Cancer Diagnostic Pathway in all Trusts across the Alliance, including the delivery of the straight to test pathway.
  • Trusts are now adhering to recent BSG/ACPGBI/PHE Post-Polypectomy and Post-Colorectal Cancer Resection Surveillance Guidelines and a Trust Surveillance Lead has been appointed.
  • Implemented a change for referring MDTs to request PET-CT at the same time as staging CT and MRI in patients with anal cancer. This change in process will reduce time patients spend on the pathway.
  • Developed Alliance wide Guidelines for the neoadjuvant management of resectable rectal cancers
  • Developed a West Yorkshire and Harrogate Colonic Stenting Network which aims to facilitate inter-hospital transfer for stenting within the West Yorkshire Associatio of Acute Trust network, should the procedure be unavailable in the ‘parent’ hospital.

Current priority target areas for the group are:

  • To progress the implementation of Capsule Colon Endoscopy in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, a new diagnostic tool that offers an alternative to colonoscopy for some patients.
  • To support Personalised Stratified Follow Up (PSFU) interventions for people living with and beyond cancer, including delivery of Supported Self-Management (SSM).
  • To draft local Alliance wide guidelines based on the current BSG guidelines for the management of hereditary colorectal cancer
  • To explore a straight to oncology pathway for patients presenting with metastatic disease and explore the benefits to adoption across the Alliance.

If you require further information, please contact the Optimal Pathways team by emailing

For a calendar of meetings and events, please click here