The Committee gave consideration to a report of the Director of Public Health which provided an overview of the three cancer screening programmes in Trafford and described related improvement activity.
The author of the report accompanied by a representative from NHS England, a medical general practitioner and the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Equalities attended the meeting to present the information and address the enquiries of the Committee.
Officers reported that, in Trafford and across the UK, three cancers screening programmes were delivered: cervical screening, bowel screening and breast screening. Eligible people were invited to complete the tests. The screening programmes reduced mortality rate significantly. However, inequalities in screening uptake were an important public health consideration. In Trafford, areas of deprivation had higher incidence and higher mortality from cancer compared to the more affluent areas. The range of screening coverage by practice in Trafford varied with the lowest coverage in the North of the borough. Amongst the measures that Public Health was putting in place to address inequalities, a piece of work had taken place with Black and Minority Ethnic groups and as a result 110 women had their first appointment for cervical cancer screening. Furthermore, the Council had agreed that women could access cervical screening during work time and a pharmacy led programme was taking place in the North of the borough to increase the uptake of breast screening. NHS England was reviewing its commissioning process to ensure that more specialist services could be provided than those currently available at GP’s surgeries.
Members asked what they could do to help to promote cancer screening programmes especially in those areas of the borough with a low uptake. Officers explained that talking to residents and having posters on display in public buildings were effective ways to spread the message that cancer was more treatable if diagnosed earlier. Members discussed having a link to Jo Trust (cervical cancer charity) on the Council’s web-site. The Committee queried whether there was a model of delivering screening programmes that worked better; officers explained that they targeted GP practices that were not performing well. Training, mentorship and a clinical enquiry line were in place to support GP practices with cervical screening tests. Members asked whether exception reporting continued to receive invite. Officers explained that this depended on the type of exception. With regard to breast screening and variation in GP practices, Members asked whether the population was aware that there were only female radiographers. The Committee also discussed screening accessibility for people with learning difficulties and was reassured that health inequalities were top priorities for NHS England. Members discussed the opportunity to publicise prostate cancer screening and officers explained that this was a diagnostic test and not part of the prevention programme as the mortality rate for this type of cancer was low, although it affected many men. Members discussed the options to have pop up clinics in the north of the borough; officers explained that this was being considered and members would be involved. Training would be available for members. Members also discussed screening accessibility in terms of moving away from 9-5 service provision as well as ensuring that letters to patients were written in “plain English”. Members and officers talked about the importance of peer to peer conversations, especially about men and bowel cancer screening. Members were reassured that work was ongoing to improve engagement, uptake and understanding of bowel screening and health providers had started seeing new groups of users such as men from BME communities. Local support groups and community champions were important resources for those people who did not go to GP practices. Members also queried about the format and languages available for information in cervical screening. Officers explained that for breast and bowel screening there was a Freephone line and on line information, going forward, systems would be able to exchange information and invites would be sent in the most appropriate format for the patient. Text messages would be added to invite letters and NHS England was requesting this element from providers. NHS England was also working towards the possibility to change appointment on line and expanding the sexual health offer in primary care.
1. That the report be noted;
2. That training on cancer screening programmes be provided to elected members to support them to divulge the message that early detection could save lives;
3. That a link to Jo Trust (cervical cancer charity) be added to the Council’s web-site;
4. That elected members support pop up clinics offering cancer screening;
5. That a progress report be presented in January 2021 to inform of measures in place to enhance accessibility and uptake of cancer screening programmes.