The Bowel Cancer screening Centre has resumed its service. This does not mean we simple unlocked the door and allowed people to access the service again! An incredible amount of behind the scenes activity has been undertaken by staff to get everything in place to allow this to happen. Policies and protocols had to be written and implemented, stringent infection control guidelines had to be put in place and approved by the Trust, Public Health England and NHS England. Staff had to be trained on all of these including the fitting and use of PPE – personal protective equipment.
Clearing the backlog of patients has been a priority for the team. The first people triaged and invited back were those that had a positive FIT Kit result who weren’t seen due to the pandemic. All 80 of these patients have now been contacted and had the opportunity to come for their procedures. Due to new guidelines, 1500 surveillance patients were reviewed by our consultants and the most pressing cases prioritised.
As of the second week in July, 1600 FIT Kits have been sent out weekly, next week this will increase to 2500 as we continue to remove the backlog of screening participants. Understandably, some people are extremely anxious about coming to the hospital. To try and reassure people and to let them know about all the measures we have put in place to protect both patients and staff we produced a patient information video “What to expect when you come to the endoscopy department” which you can see here on our website. Again, by an incredible team effort by staff here in the screening centre, this has been translated into 14 different languages to try and reach and reassure as many people as possible.
We all have to adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances that make up “the new normal” - whatever that may be! - and things will undoubtedly continue to change. One of the precautions you will have to undertake when coming to the screening centre is having your COVID-19 swab test before you enter the hospital. We cover this in the new video. For those of you that may be interested there are new developments with the test which you can read about here:
In the meantime, if you are one of the people to have your bowel screening test kit drop through the door please make sure you do it and be assured we are doing everything possible to make you visit as safe and as comfortable as possible!