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Life-saving service in Swindon praised by patients
AN NHS screening programme for older men in Swindon has been praised for its excellent service.
The Gloucestershire and Swindon Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme screens men aged 65 and over for a potentially fatal condition that affects the aorta, the main blood vessel in the body.
Men screened during September were asked for their views of the service and nearly 350 responded. More than 90 per cent rated their experience of it as ‘excellent’, the remainder either saying it was ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
Glenda Turton, co-ordinator of the screening programme, said: “The aneurysm screening team is small but very dedicated and we are obviously delighted with the results of this survey.
“It confirms that AAA screening is highly valued. We will now look at the findings of the survey in detail to see if there are any improvements we can make to the service we provide.”
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are formed when the aorta weakens and expands. If undetected, the condition can be very serious because large aneurysms can rupture, which is a surgical emergency that is usually fatal.
The NHS AAA screening programme aims to reduce premature deaths among men aged 65 and over by up to 50 per cent through early detection, appropriate monitoring and treatment, usually surgery.
The Gloucestershire programme, which started screening more than 20 years ago, expanded earlier this year to cover the Swindon area as well.
The screening test itself is a simple non-invasive ultrasound scan that takes about five to 10 minutes. Men are told their results straight away and most find they do not have the condition.
Every man who responded to the patient survey said they would recommend AAA screening to male friends or relatives and were treated with respect and dignity. Five per cent said they had to wait more than 10 minutes for their screening test.
Vascular surgeon Jonothan Earnshaw, director of the NHS AAA screening programme, said: “The results of the survey are excellent and are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the Gloucestershire and Swindon screening team.
“Men who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm do not generally notice any symptoms, which is why screening is so important. The screening test is highly effective and men receive their results immediately.”
Men in Gloucestershire and Swindon are automatically invited for screening during the year they turn 65.
Any men over 65 who have not previously been screened can arrange a screening appointment by contacting the programme directly on 01452 318836.
More information on AAA screening can be found at the website http://aaa.screening .nhs.uk.