NHS’s 65th birthday celebrated with life-saving screening for 65-year-old men

NHS’s 65th birthday celebrated with life-saving screening for 65-year-old men

A Gloucestershire-based screening programme that will prevent hundreds of premature deaths is now offered to men aged 65 across England on the 65th anniversary of the NHS.

The NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme this week announced that screening is now available throughout the country, exactly 65 years after the National Health Service was established on 5 July 1948. To celebrate, men who have benefited from the life-saving service joined surgeons and screening staff at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said: “I’m delighted today, on the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service, to see 65-year-old men in Gloucestershire and throughout England benefitting from the latest evidence-based NHS screening service.

“Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a major killer of older men and usually have no symptoms. Screening is important because it can prevent many avoidable deaths by spotting aneurysms early, so they can be monitored and treated if necessary.”

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are formed when the main blood vessel in the body weakens and expands. Around 5,000 people, most of them older men, die every year after large aneurysms burst. The national NHS AAA Screening Programme, which is based in Gloucester and was pioneered in the county, aims to prevent around half of these deaths.

The Gloucestershire and Swindon AAA Screening Programme, which is hosted by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, invites men for screening during the year they turn 65. Men over 65 who have not been screened previously can contact the service directly to arrange an appointment on 01452 318836 or at AAA.screening@glos.nhs.uk.

Local and national programme director Jonothan Earnshaw, who is a vascular surgeon at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said: “The screening test is a simple non-invasive ultrasound scan, similar to that offered to women during pregnancy, it only takes around 10 minutes and you receive your result straight away.

“I would urge all men aged 65 and over to consider seriously the offer of screening, especially if they are in one of the high risk groups, such as current and former smokers and men with a family history of the condition.”

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chair Clair Chilvers said: “Gloucestershire Hospitals has a strong partnership with the NHS AAA Screening Programme and we have been proud to host the service at our hospitals.

“The programme has already made a real difference to the lives of men aged 65 and over in the county and we are delighted that men across the country can now take advantage of this life-saving service too.”

The NHS AAA Screening Programme is now part of Public Health England, the expert national body that aims to protect and improve the nation’s health.

For more information, please contact Mike Harris, NHS Adult Screening Programmes Communication Manager, at mike.harris@nhs.net or on 07824408031.