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Keep up to date with the latest news, research and activity in patient safety


Windrush scandal made ethnic minority people ‘fearful’ of using cancer services

Fears that their data would be shared with the Home Office following the Windrush scandal left some people from ethnic minorities afraid to access cancer services during the pandemic, an NHS England document has revealed.

The paper from the West Midlands Cancer Alliance said there was a “perception” the government was “accelerating immigration removals” and that, as a result, “individuals (particularly those affected by the Windrush scandal) are then fearful of accessing cancer treatment and may not participate in screening programmes for fear their information will be inappropriately shared with the Home Office”.

The news comes after figures released last week showed the fall-off in referral and treatment of Black-British patients for cancer during the early stages of the pandemic was sharper than for their White-British counterparts.

Referrals and first treatments for cancer dipped across the board in April last year.

However, by July, White patients were receiving 77 per cent of the treatment volumes they had done 12 months before. The figure for Black patients was 67 per cent. This 10 percentage point difference continued in August and September, as treatment volumes for White-British patients recovered to 83 and 91 per cent respectively. Parity was achieved from October to December 2020, the latest period for which data is available.

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Source: HSJ, 22 April 2021

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Most new mums say NHS six-week checks fail to focus on their health

Six out of seven new mothers in England are not getting a checkup of their health six weeks after giving birth, despite such appointments becoming a new duty on the NHS last year.

Just 15% of women who have recently had a child are having a dedicated consultation with a GP to discuss their physical and mental health, according to a survey by the parenting charity National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

The requirement was introduced last year to boost maternal health and especially to try to identify women having psychological problems linked to childbirth such as postnatal depression. The appointments are separate to the established six-week check of a baby’s progress.

However, 85% of the 893 mothers in England whom Survation interviewed last month for NCT said their appointments were mainly or equally about the baby’s health and they did not get the chance to talk to the GP about their mental wellbeing.

“It is extremely disappointing to find that only 15% of new mothers are getting an appointment focused on their wellbeing and a quarter of mums are not being asked about their mental health at all,” said NCT’s chief executive, Angela McConville.

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Source: The Guardian, 22 April 2021

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