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Birmingham GPs to increase support for men with prostate cancer

Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with local hospitals to enhance the current prostate cancer service to enable men with stable prostate cancer to be discharged into the care of their local GPs.

The CCG has also worked with Prostate Cancer UK to develop and fund a recent education event for GPs and practice nurses across the city.

The event at Birmingham City FC’s ground involved explaining the care pathway to GPs, discussing treatment options for patients, what services are available to prostate cancer sufferers within the West Midlands and a session from a prostate cancer survivor explaining his journey.

The goal of the care pathway is to ensure that local GPs feel knowledgeable enough about prostate cancer to take on the responsibility for patients, and hospital teams are confident enough to discharge patients into their care. Patients who relapse or encounter problems as a result of their treatment will be promptly referred directly to their consultant’s team.

Dr Vijay Raichura, a local GP and part of the project team at Birmingham CrossCity CCG, said: “Care for men in Birmingham and Solihull is variable and often fragmented between hospital and their GP. We support the NICE guidelines which say that men with stable prostate cancer and PSA levels should be cared for by GPs. This event was part of the process of designing safe, effective care for our patients and we thank Prostate Cancer UK for their support with this session.”

Louise Jackson, Community Support Services Manager from Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Following treatment of prostate cancer, men are often left with damaging side effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence problems. Many men require ongoing support and regular check-ups following treatment and this is often delivered by their GP. We want to make sure that all GPs feel that they are equipped with the right information and skills to be able to support men living with and after prostate cancer. We’re delighted so many GPs attended the education event and found it useful.”

Prostate cancer survivor and volunteer for Prostate Cancer UK, Trevor Walker spoke about his experience of the disease at the event. He said: “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. It came as a massive shock and I was incredibly scared about what was going to happen to me. I had my prostate removed surgically and then had to undergo radiotherapy a few years later as the cancer returned. I experienced every side effect under the sun and it took a long time to adjust to a new way of life.

“When I underwent treatment there was next to no support available to men following hospital. Things are slightly different now, but many men still don’t receive the support they need. The more GPs know about prostate cancer, the impact of the disease and its side effects, the better. Men need on-going support and knowing that your GP is equipped to provide you with information and signpost you to relevant support services is a great comfort.”

To share your general experiences of healthcare in Birmingham with the CCG, visit: http://www.bhamcrosscityccg.nhs.uk/public-involvement

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