Tag Archives: nhs

Don’t ignore the test that could save your life, urge GPs

GPS are urging more women to have a simple screening test which could save their life.

The message about the importance of cervical screening comes from NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinicians as National Cervical Screening Week (8-14 June) gets underway.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under and every single day in the UK, nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer (around 3,000 a year) and three women will lose their lives to the disease.

Yet despite this, one in five women does not make an appointment for a smear test when they are invited.

Dr David Kelly, chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “We want to increase the understanding about cervical screening and how vital it is for women to have regular smear tests because these tests really can save lives.

“Women have no need to be embarrassed by the tests which are quick and painless. A simple smear test enables women to receive treatment before it is too late, preventing unnecessary deaths. So our message is clear: don’t ignore your smear test.”

In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a virus and although four out of five will be affected with it at some time in their lives, most will not go on to develop cancer. And those who do can usually be cured if the disease is diagnosed early.

There are usually no symptoms with abnormal cells in their pre-cancerous state and sometimes no symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer.

However GPs are urging women to be aware of some recognised symptoms which may indicate cervical cancer. These include abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex and lower back pain.

Any woman experiencing any or all of these symptoms should make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.

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Better information means better care

You might have had a leaflet drop through your letterbox recently about how the NHS uses patient data and information. To go alongside it, NHS England has created an animated video to help explain how collecting data can help improve care for all.

The video, called ‘Better Information Means Better Care’ tells patients how their data is used and the choices available.

To watch the short video, click here.

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Making the NHS Better

The national health headlines caught my eye today: the massive pressures on A&E departments and fears that this pressure leads to errors and possibly unnecessary deaths (here’s the BBC coverage).

Basically the story says there is much to put right in the NHS so that A&E becomes the last resort for patients, not the first place they think of when they need urgent care. A&E was intended to offer  life-saving, emergency care but changes in the NHS and lack of confidence in out of hours provision has led to more and more people attending A&E because it’s the only place they feel is available – or trust.

Local GPs have seen this crisis looming and it’s why we have come together in clinical commissioning groups to begin the changes in the NHS which should ease this pressure. As we know from the Meeting the Challenge consultation, more A&Es is not the answer, there aren’t enough specialist staff for the A&Es that already exist, nor the cash to pay them or provide the highly expensive equipment they need to work effectively.

So what’s to be done? Well, North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning group believes that preventing unnecessary hospital admissions is the key. If we can make health and social care services more convenient, seamless and effective then we can give better support to help people manage their long term conditions and stay as well as they can be. We can also do more to support the elderly and vulnerable to keep them as well as possible.

We can help to achieve this by working closely with the other organisations providing health a social care services such as Kirklees Council and Locala to bring down barriers between services and we can also do this by redesigning care pathways (how services are delivered) and redefining how and when patients get onto or follow that pathway.

It’s a complex jigsaw and can’t be done overnight, but with determination and goodwill on all sides (which is clearly evident) I believe we can quickly start to make a difference and make the ailing NHS better.

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Filed under Chair's blog: Dr David Kelly