New work to improve cervical cancer screening rates in the north of Blackburn with Darwen is already proving a success.
Data from the six GP practices operating in the newly formed ‘North Blackburn Primary Care Neighbourhood’ has shown that screening uptake increased at all six between October 2018 and May 2019.
Blackburn with Darwen Council is working with the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group, GP Federation, Health Trusts and Community and Voluntary Organisations to integrate services via the new Primary Care Neighbourhoods (PCNs.)
This means doctors, nurses, GP practice staff, social care staff, community reps and other professionals are working more closely together to help people stay well and get the care they need closer to their home.
The borough has been split into four areas – North, West, East and Darwen.
In the North PCN, a focus has been placed on trying to improve cervical cancer screening rates.
Some of the work undertaken there has included linking with the Awaaz Women’s Group based at Little Harwood Health Centre on how they can help support more BME women to attend cancer screening appointments; delivery of awareness training to newly recruited cancer champions; work by local councillors to spread key messages in their constituencies as well as general support and publicity for Public Health England’s ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign and the national Cervical Awareness Week.
The data also showed that two of the six GP surgeries have already increased screening uptake by the 3 per cent target set for June 2020, with a further one increasing it by 2.9 per cent.
Dr Penny Morris, Medical Director for Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The PCNs are moving on at a fast pace and getting results already. It is great to see that we are already having on a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
Dr Ridwaan Ahmed, Clinical Chair of the North PCN, said: “The development of neighbourhood working is just one of the exciting things happening to improve health and wellbeing in the borough. This is fantastic news and exactly what PCNs are designed to do. We are working hard to make a difference and as the PCNs are local, they will get to know the area’s residents and the area’s unique issues so they can co-ordinate efforts to tackle them.”
Jackie Floyd, Vice-Chair of the North PCN, said: “I am passionate about the added value that effective community engagement can bring to projects such as this and am delighted to see the impact already being made. We’ve worked very closely with the community cancer champions to give them accurate information but have very much followed a ‘hands off’ approach and enabled them to spread the information and key messages of the campaigns around their neighbourhoods in their own way using whatever tactics they feel will have the best impact.”