National Campaign to Promote Awareness of Bowel Cancer Symptoms - end January - end March 2012

The Department of Health has confirmed that it will run a national campaign to promote awareness of bowel cancer symptoms for eight weeks in the early part of next year. This will include TV adverts and information sent to GPs. Two pilots earlier this year showed an increase of 50% in patients presenting to their GP during this period and an increase of between 34-50% for colonoscopy referrals. Mindful of this additional pressure Sir Bruce Keogh has written to all NHS chief executives to ask that they prepare for additional demand, not just for the campaign, but also beyond. The letter predicts a 5-10% annual increase in activity over the next several years.

The full letter can be seen here. Please note Appendix A of the letter which highlights the capacity implications from the pilot sites. The BSG is talking to the DH about how to create a sustainable increase in capacity and provide appropriate planning tools to cope with increased demand effectively. There will be implementation meetings taking place locally this autumn, dates to be confirmed, where the BSG will be represented.