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“Bowel Bus” cuts cancer referral waiting times in half!

Tenovus Cancer Care’s mobile bowel clinic together with Cwm Taf University Health Board’s cancer experts have cut waiting times for bowel cancer concerns in half for the people of Merthyr Tydfil.

The bowel bus is a specialist clinic housed on board one of Tenovus Cancer Care’s mobile support units.  The mobile unit have has visited Merthyr Tydfil town centre every Monday since September 2015.

After just six months of being open, the service saw a decrease in waiting times for routine referrals to be seen at a colorectal clinic from ten and a half weeks to just over five weeks.

Over the course of a year, 244 patients were examined by Cwm Taf’s colorectal nurse specialist on board, including 66 drop-in patients and 135 people referred by GPs. Of those 244 patients, 23 were diagnosed with colorectal polyps and three with malignant tumours.

Claudia McVie, Tenovus Cancer Care chief executive, said: “The report shows that the clinic is not only a very effective way of raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, but also reduces the amount of time patients are waiting to be referred to an outpatients clinic by half. This is very significant, as we know waiting a few weeks to be seen by a specialist can seem like a lifetime when you’re worried about cancer.

“We know that it can be a bit embarrassing to talk about colorectal health. That’s why we set up a clinic in our mobile support unit, which is a warm and welcoming environment, so that anyone who’s worried about bowel cancer can come in and have a chat. Education on symptom awareness and the importance of getting checked by a health professional is vital to improve survival rates for people diagnosed with cancer.”

Professor P. N. Haray, consultant colorectal surgeon at Cwm Taf University Health Board worked on the concept with Tenovus Cancer Care and has provided clinical supervision for the service. Prof Haray said: “The service has been a tremendous success clinically, with patient surveys indicating extremely high levels of satisfaction and almost 100% expressing a willingness to use the service again. It is an innovative, clinically safe and cost effective solution to the ever increasing workload in our hospitals.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, Tenovus Cancer Care can offer help and support. To find out more call the Tenovus Cancer Care free Support Line on 0808 808 1010 or visit tenovuscancercare.org.uk.