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Giving local people a voice on health and social care services in County Durham

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Research into cancer screening making an impact


We are continuing to work hard to make cancer screening programmes more accessible in County Durham. Recently, we brought together some of the key organisations involved in cancer care to talk to them about our recommendations for how barriers to screening could be reduced. All our suggestions were based on feedback you shared with us about your experiences of screening and many of the organisations pledged to act in response.

Here are just a few of the commitments made: 

  1. We said: "Some patients who are having/ have had cancer treatment believe they do not need to attend screening as they have already been seen."

    - Rob Milner from the local Clinical Commissioning Groups has shared our reports with the Cancer Services Manager at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and requested the importance of attending screening regardless of treatment for other cancers is reiterated by cancer specialist nurses to patients. He also agreed to include the findings in Cancer Champions training.

    - Kirsty Wilkinson from Public Health said she would check this message is clear in HPV information leaflets for young women and would share it with Joining the Dots, MacMillan Information Centres, and cancer nurses.

  2. We said: "There is confusion about when patients should expect to be called for screening, including the age criteria."

    - Tracy Smith from NHS England agreed to check invite letters and information leaflets to make sure this information is included so patients are clear about the criteria for different programmes.

  3. We said: "The attitude and approach of medical staff seems a really important part of whether some people decide to attend future screening."

    - Janet Cumiskey and Amanda Firby, who provide breast screening services in the North East, have shared our report at team meetings and learning events and discussed different ways to support women through screening with their teams. 

    - Tracy Smith from NHS England said our report has been shared with the Cervical Screening Programme Board and will be considered by them.

Find out more about all of our recommendations in our original research reports.

Remember: You share. We listen. Together we make change!


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Next event

Healthwatch County Durham Board Meeting will take place on 08 Oct 2019