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Let’s talk cervical screening: Local hairdressers and beauticians start a new topic of conversation with clients

By Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Champions, Uncategorised

If you ask someone what they talk to their hairdresser or beautician about, you might expect answers such as social events, holiday plans, and family updates. However, several salons in the Humber and North Yorkshire region will be adding cervical screening to their topics of conversation from this week.

Monday, 19th June 2023 marks the start of Cervical Screening Awareness Week and Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance is working with hairdressers and beauticians from areas with the some of the lowest rates of uptake, to help encourage more women and people with a cervix (aged from 25 to 64) to book their cervical screening appointment.

With almost one in three people not booking their cervical screening appointment, Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance has equipped local hairdressers and beauticians with the information needed to talk about the benefits of cervical screening, and breakdown any barriers that may prevent someone from booking an appointment.

Cervical screening helps to prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV which causes nearly all cervical cancers. This means any cervical cell abnormalities can be treated. If left untreated, these cells can develop into cancer.

Local mum, Meg, encouraging young people to book their first cervical screening

“I am so glad I went for my initial cervical screening.” – Meg Long, Hull

Meg Long, a mum of twins from Hull, attended her first cervical screening appointment at the age of 25 and said “Life is busy, and I could have easily let my cervical screening fall to the bottom of my to do list, especially as I was not looking forward to having it done, but I am so glad I went.

“After my appointment, I was invited back for a second screening which showed abnormal cells and HPV, so I was referred for a colposcopy and waited anxiously for the test.

“The whole thing was over much quicker than I thought it would be and all of the staff were lovely. A few weeks later, I was pleased to find out my results no longer showed HPV or abnormal cells.

“I am so glad I went for my initial cervical screening. It was not as unpleasant as I thought, and all of the NHS staff made me feel as comfortable as possible. Plus, getting the peace of mind when you get your results is worth it!”

Dr Dan Cottingham, Cancer Research UK GP Lead for Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance, said: “If you have been invited for a cervical screening and have not booked an appointment yet, please contact your GP practice without delay. If you have any questions or are worried that you may find the test uncomfortable, talk to the person doing the test so they give you the right support.

“We are excited to be working with local hairdressers and beauticians who can talk to lots of people about cervical screening. The more local Cancer Champions we have helping us raise awareness of NHS cancer screening programmes, the more likely we are to encourage uptake and improve outcomes for people in Humber and North Yorkshire”

The FeMale Ego Hair and Beauty team are encouraging important discussions about cervical screening

Donna Finn, owner of FeMale Ego Hair and Beauty salon in Hull, said: “My own experience of cancer meant I jumped at the chance to learn more about cervical screening. I want to support my clients to not only look good on the outside, but also be aware of how they can help look after themselves on the inside.

“I feel confident to talk about cervical screening and know I can signpost my clients to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust or the NHS website if they need more information they can trust.”

Rachel Walker, dark bobbed hair

Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Day – The role of the Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist

By Uncategorised

Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) play a vital role for people with cancer, supporting them to navigate services, explaining treatment plans, listening to people’s needs and preferences and being their advocate.

Wednesday 26th April is National Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Awareness Day.

Here you can meet some of the CNS’s that are helping to care for people affected by cancer across Humber and North Yorkshire, as well as finding out more about some of the special online events planned for the day.

Ceri Fuller, Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, Living with and Beyond Cancer Team, Castle Hill Hospital, Hull – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Rachel Walker, Lead Breast Care Nurse, Macmillan, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

I have worked for the NHS for 17 years and have worked in breast care for most of my career. It has given me some pretty awesome opportunities along the way, and I have met some truly inspirational people.

What does your role involve?

My role is to provide support to patients and their family from the point of diagnosis and during their active treatment.

Rachel Walker, dark bobbed hair

I see myself as a spare pair of ears when the patient is unable to take in all the information. I prepare patients for their treatments and support those for whom treatment is not an option. I am there to decipher medical jargon and to listen to a patient’s worries and concerns, supporting them the best I can and signposting to relevant support where appropriate. Most importantly I am the patients advocate, being the patients voice at a time where they may feel vulnerable or bewildered in this new world that is full of hospital appointments and cancer care.

Breast cancer is so common that most people diagnosed will know someone else who has been through it at some point in their lifetime. Treatments can be complex and not one size fits all so sometimes we need to explain why a patient is not having the same treatment as one of their friends or relatives.

Another element of my role is keeping up to date with current practice and supporting the doctors and other colleagues in their roles. I am involved in governance and writing policies for the trust as well. No day is the same but that is why I enjoy what I do.

What is the best part of your job?

I think the CNS role is a special one, so it is hard to really identify one best bit, but I can say that working with the patients and their families is very rewarding and is up there with one of the best parts of my role.

The team I work with are excellent and are more like my family than a team. No matter how difficult a day may get, we are all there to support one another. Working with such a diverse range of professionals certainly has its advantages and has really helped extend my knowledge within breast cancer care.

What does caring for people affected by cancer mean to you?

For me is knowing you have made a difference to the patients, either by answering a question about their treatment, or being there at an appointment to offer your support.

Support comes in many different shapes and sizes and each patient will need a varying amount of it. If I can go home and feel I have done a good job and helped someone, then that Is a good day.

What would you say to anyone considering a nursing career in cancer care?

I would recommend anyone wanting to be a CNS takes the leap once they have a good baseline and knowledge set. There is an awful lot of support and opportunities available to build on your existing knowledge and progress within your chosen speciality. It is also great to know that you have made a difference to a patient their family and helped them get through such a difficult time.

Andrea Ward, Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist Team Leader, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I have worked for the NHS since 1981 when I started my training in London. I simply wanted to help people and have absolutely loved being a nurse and would do it again in a heartbeat.

What made you become a CNS?

I was ready for a change and to progress, I wanted a role that fit in with my young family and I also wanted to specialise in a certain area and remain fully patient focussed.

Andrea Ward, blonde bobbed curly hair

What does your role involve?

I work in a combined role as a Nurse Practitioner and Breast Care Nurse. I am also the Team Leader for the Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Team at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS FT.

I am an integral member of the breast multi-disciplinary team and work closely with my colleagues in assessing, supporting, educating and caring for patients from prior to diagnosis to the end of treatment and beyond. Day to day, I work in clinics, assessing patients, requesting investigations and communicating the results to the patients.

As a team we all have differing skills and specialisms and we hope we offer a fantastic level of care to all our patients.

I also manage the day to day running of the team with help from our Service Manager and try to support them to develop fully in what can be a stressful role. I am always full of new ideas and plans to improve and develop the service

What is the best part of the job for you?

Still being able to engage with and support patients and their carer’s. Plus working as part of the best possible team of colleagues. Although it can be stressful and sad at times, I am always happy to come to work.

What difference do you feel you make to people living with cancer?

I hope I can get alongside patients at such a stressful time, share my specialist knowledge and support them throughout their time under our care.

What would you say to anyone who is considering a nursing career in cancer care?

Do it! It is the most amazing job. You get to work at an advanced level and still be working with patients. There is always something new to learn and you will be fully supported to develop.

Sarah Berwick, Macmillan Advanced Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist and Manager of the Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Team at York Hospital

I have worked on and off in the NHS for the last 20 years and I have been a Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for the last 10 years.

I didn’t finish my training until I was thirty, so a bit older than most new qualified nurses but having more life experience really helped me in my training and later in my career.

What made you become a CNS?

Sarah Berwick brown curly hair

From early on I wanted to be a specialist nurse specifically with an interest in palliative care or lung cancer. Looking after cancer patients puts us in an extremely privileged position especially as you are caring for people at their most vulnerable and when they need a person to trust and rely on to navigate and support them through their cancer journey.

Throughout my career I focused on gaining experience and knowledge and this meant working in both respiratory medicine and palliative care. This experience enabled me to have the right skills to become a Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist.

What does your role involve?

Over the last 10 years my job has change beyond recognition but at the core the focus has always been supporting lung cancer patients.

One of the main skills for a cancer nurse is excellent communication skills and the ability to be flexible and adjust to a rapidly changing working environment. We first meet and support patients and their families at diagnosis and from that point our role can vary.

We can offer holistic care and personalised care planning, provide symptom management and health education for patients, as well as a wide range of advice and support as required. We can also be a patient advocate and a direct contact within the hospital and can refer patients to other services as needed.

We have highly specialist knowledge and play a core role in the multi-disciplinary team and contribute to improving standards of care across the pathway, as well as educating other health care professionals. Our role is constantly expanding and changing which makes this job so interesting.

What is the best part of the job for you?

The best part of my job has to be the patients, they constantly keep us on our toes, and I love that about them. I enjoy talking and listening to our patients but there is no better feeling than being told by someone that they feel better after speaking to me. I love my job today as much as I did 10 years ago, and it is constantly challenging and rewarding at the same time.

I am surrounded by the most amazing team, they make coming into work so enjoyable every day. They are all very supportive of me and each other and we all share the same goals and values what more can you ask for?

What would you say to anyone who is considering a nursing career in cancer care?

If people are thinking about nursing specifically going into cancer nursing or palliative care, you need to be resilient there will be many sad and emotional times, this can often take its toll on people’s wellbeing. Taking this all into consideration and if you are prepared for that cancer nursing can be the most rewarding job in the world.


Clinical Cancer Nurse Specialist Awareness Day Special Events

Breakfast webinar

A breakfast webinar is being held on 26th April between 8am and 9am to showcase and celebrate the dedicated Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist workforce. The event will showcase best practice in developing the Cancer CNS workforce and encourage important discussion and reflection on this vital role. A full agenda and guest panel will be announced shortly. Register your interest here.


Save the Date and Join the Discussion! A TweetChat will be held on Twitter on 26th April between 4-5pm to celebrate the role of the Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). More information to follow.

picture of someone breaking a cigarette in half

Make the swap and stop smoking!

By Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Uncategorised

March the 8th is No Smoking Day 2023, and a great opportunity to have a go at quitting for good. Stopping smoking improves your brain health and reduces your chance of developing dementia. It’s never too late to quit to improve your mind, body, and bank balance!

Most people are aware that smoking causes 16 types of cancer, heart disease, COPD and strokes. What fewer people realise, is that smoking affects brain health and is a significant risk factor for dementia, which is the key focus this No Smoking Day. The World Health Organisation estimates that 14% of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are potentially caused by smoking. Dementia care costs the NHS more than 4 billion pounds annually, and social care costs are thought to exceed 18 billion pounds.

Dr M Santhana Krishnan, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, also a member of the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Dementia Steering Group said:

“Smoking increases the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia, also the more someone smokes, the higher the dementia risk.
Like other smoking related health issues, quitting at any age can still significantly reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia”.

It can take a few attempts to stop smoking, and that’s why it’s important to keep trying different ways until you find the one that helps you to quit for good.

Support from local stop smoking services gives you the best chance of success, and GPs and pharmacists can also give advice and tips to help you quit. Swapping to a vape is another highly effective way of stopping smoking and is significantly less harmful than tobacco. Your local stop smoking service can help you through the process of using a vape to becoming completely Smokefree.

You can also download the free NHS Quit Smoking app, which includes daily emails and SMS, information and advice on stop smoking aids, including how vaping can help you quit; and an online Personal Quit Plan tool.

The NHS has prioritised the delivery of treatments for tobacco dependency, and in the Humber and North Yorkshire area hospitals are in the process of making sure everyone who smokes is offered expert support to swap cigarettes and rollups for safer forms of nicotine. This is proven to help get the best out of treatment by being Smokefree whilst in hospital and when they go home, where many people choose to take that next and best step for their health and stop for good.

Mandy was recently admitted to Hull Royal Infirmary with respiratory issues, needing oxygen and emergency care. As Mandy was a smoker, the doctor prescribed a long-lasting nicotine patch and referred her to see Bobbie, one of the Trust’s Tobacco Dependency Treatment team. Bobbie visited Mandy throughout her stay in hospital and talked through the habits associated with smoking, providing advice on how to develop new, smokefree routines.

Mandy, who had wanted to quit for a while after trying many times before and was smoking 30-40 cigarettes a day, is now completely Smokefree and wanted other people to know about the positive effect stopping smoking had for her,

“I would encourage anyone to give quitting another go.
I am now six weeks smokefree and it’s completely changed my life for the better!
I am walking more, cooking more and can taste my food again. I’ve managed to lose some weight and have more energy. I’ve saved enough money to buy my guinea pigs a new cage, which felt like an extra bonus after all the health benefits”.

Make this No Smoking Day the day to swap tobacco for something safer, download the NHS Quit Smoking app, or contact your local stop smoking service who can talk you through all the options so that you can find the one that works for you. Every quit attempt is precious, so let’s sort the next one out together.

For further information or to contact your local stop smoking service, which is completely free, visit Quit smoking – Better Health – NHS (

Image of someone preparing an injection

Protect yourself and your NHS this winter

By Uncategorised

The NHS is urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible in the fight against both flu and COVID-19 this winter.

Health bosses are emphasising that vaccination is the best way to protect people from serious illness and prevent the local health and care system from being overwhelmed.

After what was the busiest summer on record, the NHS is preparing for a very challenging winter – a period in which respiratory illnesses are more widespread.

For many, the winter period can be a source of concern and worry. People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather, finding themselves shorter of breath and coughing more than usual. In addition, the risk of catching COVID-19 and flu this winter remains significant – with cases and hospital admissions rising across the region. Both viruses can be life-threatening. For some people, catching COVID-19 and flu at the same time increases the risk of serious illness, especially older people or those who already have health conditions.

As a result, all hospitals, GP surgeries and other healthcare settings across Humber and North Yorkshire, including Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, are strongly encouraging visitors to wear face coverings (unless exempt) and to wash their hands regularly.

Locally, the number of patients occupying a hospital bed with COVID-19 has risen by 50% in the last month – with modelling suggesting half of beds across the Humber and North Yorkshire health and care system could be taken up by patients suffering from respiratory illnesses. It is therefore very important that everyone eligible, is vaccinated for COVID-19 and has had their autumn booster.

Even for the fit and healthy, people can still catch these viruses and spread them to more vulnerable people around them. Some of the people you meet may be at greater risk and it’s easy to pass these viruses on without knowing.

Mike McDermott, Associate Director of Public Health for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “We expect to see a wave of COVID-19 in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire during October/November and possibly another in January. There’s also the risk of the region being hit with a wave of flu cases at the same time so it’s particularly important that people take up the offer of vaccinations as soon as they
can. Please also remember the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air. They protect against COVID-19, flu and lots of other nasty viruses that can make you feel quite unwell.”

“This winter, we need you to keep doing everything you can to keep each other safe,” said Dr James Crick, Associate Medical Director for Hull Health and Care Partnership.

“Health and care services in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire, like everywhere, are already extremely busy. We do expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks as people mix freely again and spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder. The risk of catching COVID-19 is highest indoors and in crowded places.

“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the pandemic. The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before it starts spreading.

Cllr Linda Chambers, portfolio holder for public health and adult services at Hull City Council, added: “The actions people willingly took during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic saved countless lives and made sure our health and care services were able to cope with large numbers of people falling ill. The NHS is calling for a similar effort this winter, where possible, so it can help care for and protect the
most vulnerable residents in our community and our NHS family.

“If you are eligible for the flu vaccine and covid booster, make sure you and any vulnerable friends and family are fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 boosters are highly effective at increasing immunity and, offering a further dose to those at higher risk of severe illness this autumn will significantly reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths over the winter.

“Your actions during the pandemic made an enormous difference and we need people to look out for each other in the same way again.”

Who can get a booster and how?

People aged 50 and over, pregnant women, carers, frontline health and care workers, care home residents and people of all ages who have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has, can get a seasonal COVID-19 booster. For more details about the autumn booster, please see A guide to the COVID-19 autumn booster – GOV.UK (

Visit the national Booking Service at

Flu vaccinations

Most of the groups above will have also now been offered a free flu jab, including frontline health staff and staff employed by the following types of social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes: a registered residential care or nursing home; registered domiciliary care provider; a voluntary managed hospice provider; Direct Payment (personal budgets) or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

Younger people with some long-term health conditions are also able to get a free NHS flu jab, and since Friday, 14 October, booking has now opened for all those aged 50 and over. If you are eligible, you do not need to wait for an invite to book an appointment. Primary school children are currently being vaccinated through the in-school programme so make sure to complete the consent form provided via your child’s school, with Years 7 to 9 at secondary school due to receive their flu vaccines later in the year. Pre-school age children aged two to three will also receive an invite from their GP if they haven’t already.

You can find out about flu jab eligibility by visiting Flu vaccine – NHS (

Dos and Don’ts


✓ make sure you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or get your seasonal booster if eligible
✓ have a flu jab this year
✓ wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly
✓ Catch a sneeze or cough in a tissue and dispose of it in the bin or flush it
✓ open doors and windows to let fresh air in when meeting people inside
✓ consider wearing a face covering in crowded indoor places
✓ keep an eye on more vulnerable friends, relations, or neighbours
✓ regularly clean surfaces you touch often


× touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
× visit older or vulnerable people if you’re poorly (this includes if you have
a fever, sickness or diarrhoea)
× visit healthcare settings if you have symptoms of a respiratory virus

Remember, while there are cases of COVID-19 about, there’s still a risk you can catch it or pass it on, even if you’re fully vaccinated or you’ve had the virus before.

Visit the National Booking Service at

Our local website has further information about local vaccination sites

For further information please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

picture of a woman with a phone

Supporting patients to access appointments

By Uncategorised

The Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s Outpatients Transformation Programme has launched two short animations to support patients to access appointments.

The animations aim to support and empower patients by explaining what Patient Initiated Follow Ups (PIFU) are and describing how patients can undertake their appointments virtually if required.

Wendy Scott, Director of Collaborative of Acute Providers explains:

“We are now in a world where we need to embrace new ways of working and new technologies which support and empower our patients, where these are deemed suitable.  It is intended that these animations help patients become better informed and aware of their choices on what options are available to them for their ongoing care.”

Dr Nigel Wells, Executive Director of Clinical and Professional Services adds:

“Adopting these changes can save patient’s time and cost by reducing travel to busy hospital sites, avoiding taking time off work, whilst ensuring that the appointments they do have offer the most benefit and convenience for them when they need them most.”

The animations explain the benefits of the use of PIFU and virtual appointment to the patient, NHS and the clinician the appointment is to see. Many patients will benefit from virtual and PIFU appointments, allowing them to taking control of their healthcare and allowing patients to tailor their care to their needs.


Headshot of Simon Cox, the newly-announced managing director of the Cancer Alliance. He has grey hair, wears glasses and a suit, and smiles at the camera.

Cancer Alliance appoints Simon Cox as manager

By Uncategorised

Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Cox as managing director.

Simon will play a crucial role in bringing together all the different organisations that commission and provide cancer services to work collectively to improve cancer outcomes for the people living in Humber, Coast and Vale.

With more than 30 years’ NHS experience, Simon joins the Cancer Alliance from NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group where he has served as the Director of Acute Commissioning since January 2019. Prior to that, he spent several years serving as Chief Officer of NHS Scarborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

Simon is no stranger to the transformation of services across the Humber, Coast and Vale health and care system, in September last year, he was appointed as executive programme director of the East Coast Service Review.

He succeeds Yvonne Elliott, who has served as the Cancer Alliance’s managing director since March 2020. Yvonne has been appointed as director of the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership’s Community Health and Care Provider Collaborative, so will be remaining within the Humber, Coast and Vale health and care system.

Commenting on Simon’s appointment, Phil Mettam, the Cancer Alliance’s Senior Responsible Officer, said: “We are extremely pleased to appoint Simon as managing director of the Cancer Alliance. Given his wide range of experience in the NHS, which spans more than 30 years, I’m sure that Simon will be hugely successful in the role.

“He will play a pivotal role as the Cancer Alliance builds on its work to bring the organisations which provide or commission cancer services in Humber, Coast and Vale closer together to improve services and outcomes for patients.”

Simon Cox said: “I am delighted to be joining the Cancer Alliance. It is a real privilege to take this leadership role across the Humber, Coast and Vale cancer programme, working with our partner colleagues to further develop cancer services in our region to deliver better treatments and care for patients in the future.”

Paying tribute to Yvonne’s contribution to the Cancer Alliance, Phil said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Yvonne for all her hard work over the last two years, a period during which cancer services and indeed all health and care services have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Yvonne has helped the Alliance navigate multiple competing priorities, her professionalism and diligence has always shone through, and she moves across to the Collaborative with our full support.”

image fo welcome word article from newsletter

Cancer Alliance News – Summer 2021

By Uncategorised

The Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance Summer 2021 newsletter is now available.

The summer edition features details of activity taking place across the Alliance’s programmes of work to support high standards of care across Humber, Coast and Vale. This includes developments to the
Cancer Champion programme, changes to the skin cancer pathway, volunteer groups supporting people affected by cancer and much more.

Click here to read the newsletter.

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