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Sun advice for Crawley residents as high UV levels expected

The Met Office warns of high UV levels today, with temperatures reaching as high as 31°C. NHS Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group urges residents to protect themselves against the sun.

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People living and visiting Crawley are being urged to protect themselves against the sun this summer to reduce the risk of skin cancer as we head into another hot weekend.

The Met Office has warned of high UV levels between 11am and 2pm today, with temperatures reaching highs of 31°C.

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Temperatures are set to stay reasonably high over the weekend too, highs of 27°C are expected for both tomorrow and Sunday. Temperatures will be on the rise again for Monday and Tuesday, with highs of 29°C forecasted for Monday and 28°C on Tuesday.

Recent figures show that Crawley is above the national average for incidents of malignant melanoma, with 25.1 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the national average of 23.3 per 100,000.

NHS Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recommends following these tips to stay safe in the sun:

• Use at least factor 15 sunscreen and reapply every few hours
• Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
• Avoid getting sunburn
• Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
• Take extra care with children

Mild sunburn can usually be treated at home to help relieve you symptoms until your skin heals, without the need to visit a GP. The NHS recommends having a cold bath or shower to cool down the skin, or you can sponge your skin with cold water or hold a cold flannel against it. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and apply soothing lotions to moisturise the skin.

Dr Laura Hill, Clinical Chair at NHS Crawley CCG, said:

“We’re urging residents and visitors to our town to be aware of the dangers of being in the sun without protection.

“Going into shade, wearing clothing and sunglasses, and using sunscreen which is at least factor 15 with good UV-A protection on all exposed skin, will help reduce the risks we all face when going out in the sun for long periods.”

Anyone who feels unwell or concerned about their sunburn, particularly if you’re burnt over a large area or have any of the more severe symptoms (such as blistering or swelling of the skin) should call NHS 111, visit their GP or go to the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital.

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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