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Partners praise life-saving screening service

The Hereford and Worcester Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening programme has received great feedback from those using the service.

The NHS AAA Screening Programme aims to reduce AAA related mortality among men aged 65 to 74 by up to 50 per cent through early detection, appropriate monitoring and treatment.

An AAA is a swelling of the aorta, the main blood vessel that leads away from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body.

In most cases, an AAA causes no noticeable symptoms. However, if it becomes large, some people may develop a pain or a pulsating feeling in their abdomen or persistent back pain.

An AAA doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to health, but there’s a risk that a larger aneurysm could burst. When an AAA is detected it impacts on those closely related to the patient.

Sixteen women, who regularly attend local monitoring clinics with their partners, were asked to answer a simple questionnaire to provide feedback on the service.

A total of 87.5 per cent responded with the results suggesting they feel confident in the service the team provides.

Friendly and helpful staff attitudes shone through in the results and all respondents felt reassured that they knew who they could contact if there were any concerns around their partners' condition.

One partner said "Really nice staff, puts my husband’s mind at rest, couldn’t ask for anyone nicer.”

Another said "The AAA Screening is such a wonderful service. The technicians are so helpful and courteous and explain everything to us. They make you feel as though you are their only patient that they have that day. Best of all is that we know that help is at the end of a phone should we need it. This thought is so comforting. We have only seen the nurse once but she was very helpful and gave us her phone number. We can reach her directly instead of going through endless departments.”

Cathy Schorah, AAA Screening Programme Manager said "We are aware that for some the detection of an aneurysm causes great personal stress and this places an even greater emphasis on the need for quality patient-focus.

"While the sample of this survey was small, we are confident that our patients and their relatives are benefiting from the efforts we put in to providing this high level of service.”

Men living in Herefordshire and Worcestershire who are registered with a GP will automatically be called for screening near to their 65th birthday. Older men, who have never been screened, can phone 01905 733830 to arrange a scan.