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On ya’ bike! Residents invited to explore Crawley on two wheels

Crawley residents are invited to take part in guided bicycle tours to discover local network routes during two events.

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Families in Crawley can explore the town on two wheels and discover the local cycle network routes, guided by local people from Cycling UK and Sustrans.

Crawley Borough Council are supporting the guided rides, which includes a tour of Crawley’s parks and green lanes on 27 May and the Annual Crawley Family Bike Ride on 10 June.

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On 27 May, residents and visitors are invited to meet at 10am at Three Bridges station where the ride will pass through parks and quiet residential streets, exploring the cycle paths towards the historic Ifield Mill.

There will be plenty of time to tour the Mill before returning to Three Bridges station at 1pm

On 10 June, at Oriel School Fitness Centre, Bikes Revived will be hosting a Dr Bike session from 9.30am, where you can get your bike checked over and in good working order before the Family Bike Ride leaves at 10am and goes along the beautiful Worth Way off-road track to East Grinstead.

There will be time to get some light refreshments and look at the steam trains before returning to Oriel School for 1.30-2.00pm.

Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, Councillor Geraint Thomas, said:

“Cycling is the way forward for quick journeys and keeping well. There have been recent improvements to cycle routes in the town and more are scheduled. These guided rides are a great, fun way to brush up your cycling skills and explore the town on two wheels! It’s a very popular event and a good way to make friends – I’ve really enjoyed it in previous years.”

Cyclists of all ages are welcome, including children who are able to cycle for about two hours. Please ensure children under 16 are accompanied by a responsible adult and have a helmet. We recommend that all riders bring a water container.

For more information about cycling in Crawley, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/cycling

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Health & Wellbeing

South East’s diagnostic units struggling with demand for life-saving bowel cancer tests

These tests detect bowel cancer, the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, early when it is easier to treat and patients have a greater chance of survival.

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Over 20 hospitals in the South East of England are in breach of a waiting time target for life-saving tests that could diagnose bowel cancer. Under NHS rules patients should wait no more than six weeks, but in one hospital in the region 25% per cent of patients are waiting beyond this time.  

Patients should wait no more than six weeks for a colonoscopy test that can detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat. Referrals may be from a variety of sources. Approximately over half of patients (55%) are diagnosed with bowel cancer via a GP referral, a quarter are diagnosed in an emergency such as patients going to A&E, and 10% are diagnosed through screening.

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The waiting times published by NHS England on Thursday 11 October is further evidence that demand for diagnostic tests are outstripping capacity. Many hospitals are at breaking point because they simply do not have the capacity to meet the growing demand for these services. A lack of funding, limited resources and a shortage of staff to carry out the number of procedures needed are contributing to this.

To reduce the number of patients waiting longer than the NHS target for these vital tests, Bowel Cancer UK’s ‘End the Capacity Crisis’ campaign is calling on the government to invest in more NHS staff to work in bowel cancer units in North of England, Yorkshire and the Humber hospitals.

The two key tests to diagnose bowel cancer are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera on a thin, flexible cable inserted through the anus to look at different parts of the bowel.  These tests are known as endoscopy procedures and can detect cancer at the earliest stage of the disease, when it is more treatable, and even prevent cancer through the removal of pre-cancerous growths (polyps).

The three hospitals with some of the highest percentage of patients waiting more than six weeks for colonoscopy appointments in August 2018 are: Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (25%), University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (17%) and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (9%).

The three hospitals with some of the highest percentage of patients waiting more than six weeks for flexible sigmoidoscopy appointments are: Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (33%), University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (9%) and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (5%).

Ahead of the Government spending review in November, Bowel Cancer UK is calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, to work together to develop a fully funded action plan to tackle NHS staff shortages in diagnostic services for bowel cancer and end the capacity crisis. Thousands of people, including patients, NHS staff, leading professional bodies and Members of Parliament, have backed the charity’s call by signing a letter to Government.

Asha Kaur, Head of Policy & Campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK, says:

“These waiting time figures present a worrying picture for patients and demonstrate the urgent need for the Government to make addressing this capacity crisis a national priority. If hospitals are expected to meet waiting time targets then they must be given the resources and capacity to enable them to meet these standards.”

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