Nurses screening pledge

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A team of Sheffield GP practice nurses have pledged to boost the number of people taking up their bowel cancer screenings.

The nurses made the pledge as part of a bowel cancer screening training event, hosted recently by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.

The training gave nurses the opportunity to learn more about the screening programme, the reasons uptake is low and what can be done to change that.

Patients registered with a GP are automatically sent an invite for a ‘camera’ examination at the age of 55, and then an invite for a stool sample test every two years when they reach 60 years old. The aim is to detect early cancers in people with no symptoms.

Evidence shows that uptake for screening is lower in areas with high deprivation or high ethnic diversity, and among some religious groups. The nurses were also taught that fear, and practical issues such as arthritis or mobility problems, are among the other barriers that stop people taking part in their screenings.

The day of training ended with the nurses making pledges of what their practices could do to increase uptake in the city.

Louise Metcalfe, Macmillan primary care quality lead nurse at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “The training days give GP practice staff the opportunity to learn more about current issues within healthcare in our region.

“We had a great turnout at this training event, and hope that the information these nurses received, and the pledge they made, will make a difference to increasing bowel cancer screening uptake in Sheffield.”

In females in the UK, bowel cancer is the third most common cancer, with around 18,700 new cases being diagnosed in 2015. Incidence rates for bowel cancer are projected to fall by 11 per cent in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 74 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.

NHS Sheffield CCG puts on a number of education and training events for GPs, Practice Nurses and Health Care Assistants, as well as some events for non-clinical practice staff, around different topics throughout the year called Protected Learning Initiatives. The training events give GP practice staff dedicated time for training and development. The CCG arranges clinical cover when training takes place, and have been running these events for the last 10 years, including in the predecessor organisation NHS Sheffield Primary Care Trust.

A broad range of topics have been covered over the past year, including infectious diseases and antibiotic prescribing, safeguarding training for children in care, family violence and the impact of alcohol misuse, sexual health and contraception, pain management, mental health and quality and safety in drug administration.