A screening programme that will prevent hundreds of premature deaths is now offered to men aged 65 and over in Swindon and throughout England on the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service.
The NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme is now available throughout the country, exactly 65 years after the NHS was established on 5 July 1948.
AAAs are formed when the main blood vessel in the body weakens and expands. Around 5,000 people, most of them older men, die every year after large aneurysms burst. Screening should prevent around half of these deaths.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “It is particularly pleasing today, on the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service, to see 65-year-old men in Swindon and throughout England benefitting from the latest evidence-based NHS screening service.
“Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a major killer of older men and usually have no symptoms. Screening is important because it can prevent many avoidable deaths by spotting aneurysms early, so they can be monitored and treated if necessary.”
The Gloucestershire and Swindon AAA Screening Programme invites men for screening during the year they turn 65. Men over 65 who have not been screened previously can contact the service directly to arrange an appointment.
Vascular surgeon and screening programme director Jonothan Earnshaw said: “The screening test is a simple non-invasive ultrasound scan, similar to that offered to women during pregnancy, it only takes around 10 minutes and you receive your result straight away.
“I would urge all men aged 65 and over to consider seriously the offer of screening, especially if they are in one of the high risk groups, such as current and former smokers and men with a family history of the condition.”
The NHS AAA Screening Programme is now part of Public Health England, the expert national body that aims to protect and improve the nation’s health.