New support available to people with learning disabilities in Barnsley to prevent bowel cancer

Our Public Health teams have partnered with the NHS in Barnsley to make the bowel cancer screening programme easier to access for people with learning disabilities.

Research suggests people with learning disabilities have a greater risk of developing some types of cancer and may be less likely to participate in bowel screening. The bowel cancer screening programme, which saves over 2,400 lives per year in the UK, aims to support people through early testing, which helps to prevent bowel cancer or detect and treat it early.

People with learning disabilities will now be provided additional support, including advice on the benefits of screening, instructions for completing the test, easy read guides and videos and support from community learning disability teams.

Since launching in February this year, 30 people have been supported by trained local care coordinators to take part in the programme. Further eligible Barnsley residents will begin to receive phone calls in the coming weeks from their local care coordinators with an offer of support before receiving a bowel screening kit.

Sally Davis, Adult Learning Disability Community Health Team lead at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said, "It’s been so exciting to be part of this dynamic project, working collaboratively with partner agencies and the team at Gateshead. 

"I am sure it will have a positive impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities and improve the uptake of bowel screening, which is vital in the fight against preventable deaths."

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Director of Public Health, said, "This new pathway is another example of how we are working together to reduce health inequalities in Barnsley.

“It's great to hear that it has already supported some residents that had not previously taken part in screening, and I'm sure will continue this success over the coming months. This crucial development will provide the help and care our residents need to have the best chance of enjoying life in good health." 

For more information on the bowel cancer screening programme visit the NHS website

For an easy read guide to bowel screening, visit the government website.

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