Hopeing to see recommendations in this report become a reality
A new report by the human rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK in collaboration with Cancer Black Care, on access to cancer screening access for people from the capital's African Caribbean communities living with a diagnosis of mental illness has been launched at City Hall.
Entitled: 'Improving Cancer Screening Access for London's African Caribbean Communities Living with a diagnosis of Mental Illness', this 70 page report was unveiled at reception at City Hall on Thursday 17th July hosted by London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE.
Over 70 guests from the across the capital's mental health, cancer screening sectors as well as leading lights from the across the community attended this reception, for the publication of this new report which has put a spotlight on a previously neglected area of health care for people who use mental health services from London's African Caribbean communities.
'I very much welcome the opportunity to host this launch as the issue of both increasing cancer screening and mental health is of particular interest to me, as I have a background in health and welcome the findings of this new report by BMH UK & CBC,' Jennette Arnold told guests at the launch.
'I am hoping to see the recommendations within this document become a reality so that we can come back here again in 12 months time and have another reception to mark the progress we have made in this area,' Arnold added.
Research also shows that cancer is the second leading cause of death among people who have been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Concern over health gap
BMH UK & CBC were commissioned by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes to produce this new report after discussions about their 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.
This groundbreaking 12 month study includes a detail audit of current cancer screening for black people 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,
Data from this research shows that people living with a condition of severe and enduring mental silliness (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 report 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.
'The life expectancy of someone living with a diagnosis of Severe Mental Illness (SMI) is the same as someone living in England in the 1950's, which is totally unacceptable.
I also welcome the publication of this new report by BMH UK & CBC as it is right on target with our current parity of esteem agenda, to address the inequalities faced by people living with this condition as current figures show that the death rate from cancer is markedly higher if you are living with SMI. Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Mental Health told guests.
Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK and lead author on this report said chaired the panel session at this launch she 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 told delegates at this event: '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.
'Hopeing everyone has the opportunity to be screened'
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.'
Chinegwundoh added: '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 was hosted by Jenette Arnold OBE AM, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly
Speakers at this event invluded: 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 and Dr Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon & Chairman of Cancer Black Care.
'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 will be available on this website shortly.
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