by Maureen Major, Screening Nurse – Screening Access Project
Access to NHS Screening Programme: a health priority
The Screening Access Project (SAP) is a project aimed at supporting people who use the services of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to access NHS Screening.
People with mental illness die 15-20 years earlier on average and also experience more risks to their physical health.
People with mental health issues also experience higher levels of unemployment and often live in poor quality accommodation, and experience higher rates of diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and also longer term condition such as diabetes.
Our aim, is to promote informed choice and improve access to NHS Screening programmes in a bid to address inequalities, and to support ‘public health parity’ for mental health. We know that in Nottingham City, uptake rates for bowel screening for people with mental health and Intellectual Disabilities (learning disabilities) are half that of the local population. Other studies focusing on breast, cervical and diabetic eye screening show similar results of uptake for this group of people.
As a team we want to support people living with and recovering from mental health issues not only to be encouraged, but supported to make the right choices and enabled to improve their physical health by attending any screening that they may be entitled too. Hopefully this will lead to improving their well-being and quality of life. It will also address the shocking disparities in life expectancy experienced by people with mental illness.
There are many myths and barriers around the screening programmes and we hope to dispel these and one way is by supporting informed education sessions about screening. The first of these sessions will be held on 20thOctober 2017 “Wear it Pink Day” where we have arranged experts to help demystifies the myths about screening and help people with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities (Learning Disability) to make informed choices about screening. The event is firstly aimed at services users, their carers and staff and people can book on one or both of the sessions.
To book please contact Maureen Major either by email on Maureen.email@example.com or by phoning 07557 544930