Entitled: ‘Improving Cancer Screening Access for London’s African Caribbean Communities Living with a diagnosis of Mental Illness’, this 70 page report has been launched at a reception at City Hall in July hosted by London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE.
Research shows that cancer is the second leading cause of death among people who have been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
BMH UK & CBC were commissioned by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes to produce this new report after they raised concerns over the marked health gap between people detained in mental health settings, labelled with a severe mental health condition and the general population. Research also shows that there is a very a large African Caribbean patient population over represented within this group.
Data from this groundbreaking new research shows that people living with a condition of severe and enduring mental illiness (SMI) are consistently failing to access current screening service for a number of reasons. Also black patients who are detained in psychiatric settings or living in the community have little accessible information about cancer screening.
This new 12 month study also includes a detail audit of current cancer screening for this group across Greater London that are currently running screening programmes. It also sets out findings from surveys conducted with all nine mental health providers across the capital.
This report also highlights the critical role that the black community voluntary sector (BVCS) plays reducing the premature mortality in this area of healthcare and sets out practical solutions and models of partnership working that will markedly improve prevention and early diagnosis for this patient group.
Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK and lead author on this report said: ‘Ensuring that people from communities who are over represented in psychiatric settings are accessing timely and culturally appropriate cancer screening and care is an important aspect of the parity of esteem agenda.
Our findings set out in this report highlight the important partnership role health providers need to broker with third sector agencies in order to fulfill their obligations within the Health and Social Care Act. This new document also focuses on the need for mental health providers and CCG’s to establish new ways of working with cancer screening services in order to address the systemic exclusion of some of society’s most marginalised groups from potentially lifesaving services.’
Dr Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon & Chairman of Cancer Black Care and co-author of this report said : ‘We know that screening for various cancers saves lives, those people with severe mental illness often miss out on screening and this needs and can be addressed to ensure that they are offered the same opportunities in a manner that makes it possible for them to take advantage of them.
I am hoping that the launch of this report will assist the responsible bodies for screening to liaise with mental health services to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be screened and not miss out.
All mental health patients are being inadvertently excluded from accessing services – it not specifically a black issue but because there are more black people in detained psychiatric settings more people from this group will die of this condition if they do not benefit from a targeted approach and working with community based agencies that they trust on this issue is vital.
The Launch of : ‘Improving Cancer Screening Access for London’s African Caribbean Communities Living with a diagnosis of Mental Illness’ by Black Mental Health UK & Cancer Black Care took place at City Hall, on Thursday 17 July 2014.
Speakers at this launch reception include:
• Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health
• Jenette Arnold OBE AM, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly
• Matilda MacAttram, Director of Black Mental Health UK
• Dr Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon & Chairman of Cancer Black Care