Be Clear on Cancer oesophago-gastric cancer roadshow to visit Bristol next week

Event aims to raise awareness that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer

A Be Clear on Cancer roadshow is set to visit Bristol next week to raise awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers. In particular, the roadshow aims to increase understanding that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer and anyone who notices the symptoms should see their doctor.

The most recent data reveals that in Bristol, 88 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer (also known as oesophago-gastric cancers) each year, and approximately 64 people die from these diseases annually.

A new survey commissioned by Public Health England has found that nationally only 1 in 2 people (55%) would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for three weeks or more.

According to the survey, 59% of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15% saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the roadshow is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70% did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer and just 13% of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.

Early diagnosis is crucial: around 67% of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years. This figure drops to around 3% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow has been visiting shopping centres across England since 28 January and will be in Bristol on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 February at the Broadwalk Shopping Centre in Knowle.

At the event, leaflets will be distributed that provide information on oesophago-gastric cancers and a nurse will also be on hand to talk to anyone who has any questions.

Dr Shona Arora, Centre Director for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“People may be reluctant to visit their doctor about persistent heartburn, thinking that it’s something they just have to live with, but heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer.

“The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow in Bristol is a great way for individuals from the local area to find out more about the signs and symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers. The earlier these cancers are diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival.“

For further information about the signs and symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, click here.


New campaign encourages people in the South West to act FAST if they experience stroke symptoms

  • Annual ‘Act FAST’ campaign launches to highlight the symptoms of stroke
  • 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were spotted and treated
  • 35% of people in the South West would recognise the warning signs which could mean a major stroke is imminent (compared with 37% at a national level)
  • 12,500 people in the South West suffer a stroke each year

Public Health England (PHE) is today (Monday 2 February 2015) launching the annual ‘Act FAST’ campaign, which highlights the common symptoms of stroke and mini strokes and encourages people to call 999 if they notice the symptoms in others or experience them themselves.

Since the Act FAST campaign launched in 2009, an additional 38,600 people have got to hospital within the vital three-hour window meaning that stroke sufferers receive the immediate medical treatment required. This not only results in a greater chance of better recovery, but since the campaign launch over 4,000 fewer people have become disabled as a result of a stroke.

A mini stroke has similar symptoms to a full stroke, except that these symptoms last for a much shorter amount of time. Without immediate treatment, around one in five of those who experience a mini stroke will go on to have a full stroke within a few days.

Early intervention following a mini stroke can greatly reduce the risk of having another stroke. However, while 53% of people surveyed in the South West cite stroke as one of the top three conditions they are most concerned about (compared with 59% at a national level).  New research reveals today that only 29% in the South West would call 999 if they experienced the symptoms of a mini stroke (compared with 45% at a national level).2

The campaign urges people to Act FAST if they notice any of the following symptoms, even if they disappear within a short space of time:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred? If they notice any of these symptoms it is
  • Time – time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

This year’s campaign will also target African and Caribbean and South Asian communities, as findings reveal they are two times likely to be at a risk of stroke.

Professor Julia Verne, Director of the Knowledge and Intelligence Team for Public Health England in the South West said:

“The impressive results from previous Act FAST campaigns show just how important it is that we continue to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke.

“Highlighting the importance of treating mini strokes with the same urgency as strokes can also make a huge difference – around 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were treated in time. That’s why the Act FAST campaign encourages people experiencing stroke-like symptoms to call 999.”

Nikki Hill, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association said:

We know that sadly, far too many people dismiss their early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999. Stroke is a medical emergency and getting the right treatment fast can save lives.

“Through this latest campaign we hope as many people as possible know how to act FAST and help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have.”


Issued by PHE South West Press Office, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EH.  For further information, please contact 0117 968 9161/2.  Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_AGW@PHE_DCS@PHE_uk.

For more information, click here 


Stop the rot

Today, Monday 29 December 2014, Public Health England launches a powerful new campaign to highlight how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process akin to rotting. The campaign launches as a new expert review commissioned by Public Health England highlights the multiple impacts that toxic ingredients in cigarettes can have on your body. Whilst many smokers know that smoking causes cancer and harms the lungs and heart, the new report highlights how it also damages:

  • Bones and muscles – Smoking causes progressive harm to the musculoskeletal system, and has a negative impact on bone mineral density. Harms include:
    • 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increase in the risk of hip fractures among men
    • Slower healing after injury
    • Increased risk of back and neck pain, leading to a 79% increase in chronic back pain and a 114% increase in disabling lower back pain
    • Significant cause of rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the impact of treatment
  • Brain – Current smokers are 53% more likely to develop cognitive impairment than non-smokers and 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
  • Teeth – Smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss and decay
  • Eyes – Smoking damages sight by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 78%-358% and increasing the risk of age-related cataracts

To continue reading, click here.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Tuesday 18 November is European Antibiotic Awareness Day and Wiltshire CCG is taking part.

As a leader in providing and commissioning healthcare to the people of Wiltshire, the CCG is aware that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health issue and a threat to the future of healthcare.

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day is a public health initiative that takes place each year to raise awareness about the threat of antibiotic resistance and promote prudent antibiotic use.

The main objectives of this are to:

  • Educate, inform and engage patients and healthcare professionals about the appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce the expectation that antibiotics will be prescribed to treat colds, coughs and sore throats
  • Motivate healthcare professionals to prescribe antibiotics more appropriately
  • Educate, inform and engage patients and healthcare professionals about the importance of preventing resistance to antibiotics
  • Reinforce awareness of this problem as a wider international issue by promoting European Antibiotic Awareness Day
  • Align key messages and activities with the objectives of the UK Five-Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-18

The target audience is:

  • Frontline prescribing healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care, including GPs, hospital doctors, pharmacists and nurses
  • Patients and the general public
  • Parents of young children
  • Children

Prudent use of antibiotics can help stop resistant bacteria from developing and help keep antibiotics effective for the use of future generations.

This campaign aims to reduce the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, which is leading to many bacteria becoming resistant to these essential medicines. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today.

Antibiotics have dramatically reduced the number of deaths from infections and infectious diseases since they were introduced 70 years ago; we need them to continue this important role in treating serious illness and helping to prevent early deaths.

They are now a vital tool for modern medicine and we also need them to avoid infections during today’s cancer treatments, caesarean sections and many surgeries.

In Europe alone 25,000 people already die each year because of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

What Wiltshire CCG is doing

We have employed Infection Prevention and Control Specialist Nurses to help in the fight against the spread of antibiotic resistant infections.  We have also made a pledge to be an antibiotic guardian, striving to stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics that is leading to many bacteria becoming resistant to these essential medicines.

Our Medicines Management Team work closely with primary care providers to monitor prescribing and promote prudent use of antibiotic and our Quality Team has introduced CQUINs (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) around antibiotic prescribing and stewardship.

Wiltshire CCG is calling on all prescribers to become antibiotic guardians and help slow resistance to antibiotics by not prescribing them unless absolutely necessary.

Antibiotic Guardian website

Antibiotic Guardian video

Downloadable materials

Get Better Without Antibiotics leaflet
When should I worry? booklet

Feeling Under the Weather?

NHS Wiltshire CCG is supporting the NHS winter campaign, ‘Feeling under the weather?’.

The campaign is urging older people to seek early advice from their pharmacist for minor winter illnesses.  It is targeted at the over 60s, and also at those aged 45 and above who often look after an older friend, neighbour or relative.

If you’re over 60 a minor illness can get worse quickly.  The campaign encourages people feeling under the weather with a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat, to pop down to their local pharmacy for quick health advice.

The campaign will run from 27 October for six weeks, and adverts will appear on the radio and press, as well in supermarkets and local pharmacies.

Feeling under the weather? leaflet

Today, Tuesday 14 October, sees the start of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign being run again this year by Public Health England.

People are being urged to go to their doctor if they see blood when they pee, even if it’s just once.

For more information, click here.

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine, don’t put it off, get it now

NHS Wiltshire CCG is supporting the NHS Flu campaign.

The campaign will run from 6 October across England, encouraging those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer.  It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4.

Adverts will appear on radio and in the press supported by digital search.

Those who catch the flu pass it on to an average of two people putting those most vulnerable at an increased risk including those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.

Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very suddenly. Healthy individuals usually recover in two to seven days but for some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Points to remember are:

  • Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination; if you’re eligible get it now. It’s free because you need it
  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, or you are pregnant, you are at greater risk of severe complications if you catch flu
  • The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children aged 2-4 to be protected from flu without the need for injections
  • The flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk of flu
  • It is vital that those who are eligible have the flu vaccine every year as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which evolve each year
  • The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu
  • The flu vaccine reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk

If you have a long-term health condition:

  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.  It’s free because you need it
  • Flu can make the effects of your existing condition worse and makes complications like pneumonia more likely

If you are pregnant:

  • If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. It’s free because you need it
  • The flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both you and your baby if you catch the flu e.g. premature birth
  • Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result you may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu
  • The flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, it does not carry any risks for you or your baby


  • If you have children aged two, three or four, don’t put off taking them for their free flu vaccination
  • The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective and painless and available to children aged 2-4 years
  • It’s important to protect your little ones from flu and the vaccination is available free on the NHS
  • Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles
  • The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others

Watch the video here.

The 100 Day Challenge is an internal programme launched by Wiltshire CCG and Wiltshire Council on 1 September, to improve the way health and social care professionals work together for the people of Wiltshire.  It will end on 9 December 2014.

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England is encouraging smokers in Wiltshire to swap their fags for gags, to help them quit for good this October.

The campaign is supported by comedians Al Murray, Paddy McGuiness and others who will use their humour to help smokers during the 28 day challenge.

For more information go here.