The team screen men from the local community aged 65 and over who might be at risk from an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA). The test is a simple ultrasound check to help check if there’s a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through to your tummy.
Men have no symptoms of an AAA, which is why screening is so important to help prevent rupture. The screening only takes around 10 minutes.
With screening normally taking place in small clinic rooms at GP surgeries and other locations, with confined reception and waiting areas, the pandemic has made it difficult for the Peninsula AAA Screening team to find venues where they can safely accommodate the service and maintain social distancing, alongside other essential services.
“A member of staff at Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital suggested we contact Redruth Rugby Club, who have a physio room that was not currently being used,” explains Tracey Ellis, NHS AAA Screening Manager, Peninsula Programme (RCHT). “The club were happy to support the NHS and have worked in partnership with the team to update the room with improvement funding from NHS England. The updates included new flooring, replacement couch and other items to make the environment more welcoming.”
Tracey continues: “Redruth RFC have been amazing to work with. They are enthusiastic and keen to support the NHS during this difficult period. Both the rugby club and NHS England have worked hard to ensure the room is fit for purpose, so we can continue to offer this important screening in a safe, clean environment. It’s an ideal location for our service, with parking available for men attending the appointment. We really can’t thank them enough.”
Clinical Director for the RCHT, Mr Neil Hopper, agrees, adding: “I can only echo Tracey’s sentiments. Any assistance we’ve received in these unprecedented times is much appreciated and represents a genuine act of kindness and compassion for the people in our communities, and we are delighted to be able to offer AAA screening at Redruth RFC.”
“Our hope is that other facilities are as open-minded with their help and support”, Mr Hopper continues. “Not only does this allow the screening programme to continue to operate in a safe manner, it’s also potentially life-saving. If just one individual comes forward with an aneurysm who would otherwise not have attended without their assistance, then this is utterly amazing.”
Nigel Hambly, Director of Rugby for Redruth RFC, adds: “The NHS has become the nation’s heroes during the pandemic, and the club is absolutely delighted and honoured to be supporting them during these extremely challenging times. We are, and continually strive to be, at the heart of our community, and hope that this partnership will be a great benefit to those looking to access such a necessary and much valued service.”
The Peninsula AAA Screening team will be looking forward to holding their first clinic at Redruth Rugby Club on 3rd March. Men in their 65th year who are registered with a local GP Practice will automatically receive a written invitation to be screened. The Peninsula AAA Screening team can be contacted on 01752 764859 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening please click here.
If there are any other local clubs with an unused physio room available who might be able to help with future clinics, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01752 764859.