The feasibility study will generate reliable estimates of i) the number of patients who would be identified as eligible for referral; ii) the number of these that were not already under investigation; and iii) the acceptability of referral and further investigation to both patients and practitioners. These data would be used to develop the study methods for the full trial. The feasibility phase will also explore the prediction potential of different search criteria to use on the database.
From electronic primary care records we will identify patients whose recorded symptoms indicate they meet NICE criteria for urgent referral. We will determine whether these patients are already under investigation, have other known explanations for their symptoms or have declined further investigation. This will allow us to determine how many patients might benefit from further investigation. Those that are eligible will be referred for further investigation to exclude colorectal cancer.