Rugby cancer screening hub wins award for pioneering partnership with firefighters - The Rugby Observer

Rugby cancer screening hub wins award for pioneering partnership with firefighters

Andy Morris 27th Jul, 2017   0

A PIONEERING partnership with firefighters to stop bowel cancer in its tracks has earned St Cross Hospital a national award.

The Rugby hospital’s hub of the national Bowel Cancer Screening Programme – one of only five in the country – has seen more patients thanks to Cheshire’s and Merseyside’s Fire and Rescue Services visiting those at risk and advising them to get checked.

The initiative has won a Healthcare Transformation Award in the category of Improving Cancer Outcomes – and is now set to expand to include other firefighters across the country.

Firefighters have visited vulnerable people over 65 to give advice on fire safety for a number of years – but since February have joined with the NHS to give health advice to try and reduce the number of emergency hospital visits.




Since then, the two fire services have encouraged over 1,220 people to get screened for the deadly disease.

Steve Smith, Director of the St Cross hub, said he was delighted the project had won the award.


He said: “All men and women aged 60-74 are invited to carry out a test every two years, but this programme has shown that the face-to-face contact and advice that firefighters provide during their home visits really makes a difference.

“We’re now hoping to be able to work with other Fire and Rescue Services across the Midlands and North West of England to be able to encourage even more people to get screened.”

Julie Kelly, Head of Public Health NHS England North, Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent. Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be effective.

“This initiative is an excellent example of the local system working together, for the benefit of the populations we serve.”

Chair of the Fire Authority for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Coun Bob Rudd, added: “Getting the emergency services to work more closely together to try and avoid elderly people having to visit hospital or developing late stage bowel cancers is a brilliant use of limited resources.”

Phil Byrne, station manager at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Fire and Rescue Service has the unique ability to access homes of vulnerable people.

“Our staff have had the opportunity to explain to clients the benefits of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and ensuring the correct and appropriate screening kit is sent out directly from the hub in Rugby.”

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