Community Health Programme Extended to Improve Wakefield Screening Rates

03 December 2018

A community health programme funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research has been extended to improve the take up of cancer screening in Wakefield. 

The ‘Wise Up To Cancer’ initiative, initially run in partnership with Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire and Leeds Beckett University, has already helped hundreds of people in the area take steps to live a healthy life. 

The programme has also helped increase knowledge of cancer signs and symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis.

Now Yorkshire Cancer Research is working with Wakefield Council’s Public Health service, NHS Wakefield CCG* and the Wakefield Health Alliance to encourage more people to take part in the national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer. Screening can find cancers when they are too small to see or feel, but many people do not take part. 

An estimated 25,000 people have not taken advantage of screening across the Wakefield GP practices involved in the programme. During 2016 to 2017, less than half of people invited to take part in bowel screening at one local GP practice completed and returned their home testing kits. 1

Lisa Trickett, Community Health Initiatives Manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Screening is a vital tool in helping to diagnose cancer at an early stage. When cancer is found early, it can often be treated more successfully. We know that by encouraging more people to take part in screening, and ensuring they understand the importance of early detection, we will save lives in Wakefield.” 

The two-year programme will involve 16 local GP practices which are based in places that have been identified as ‘hot spot’ areas, where many people are diagnosed with cancer but participation in screening is low. People trained as ‘cancer facilitators’ will work closely with the practices to support them in identifying and contacting people who have not taken part in screening when invited.

Those people will receive letters, text messages or phone calls explaining the importance of screening and how to book an appointment. GPs will also talk to patients about screening during routine appointments. 

Wakefield Council’s Public Health team will evaluate the project to assess how effective it has been and how it could be improved.

Anna Hartley, Director of Public Health at Wakefield Council, said: “Following the advice of your GP and taking part in cancer screening is a great way to reduce your risk of certain cancers. Other ways people can reduce their risk is by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing their alcohol intake, being active and stopping smoking.”

Dr Philip Earnshaw, practising GP in Ferrybridge and Chair of NHS Wakefield CCG, said: “Cancer is the single biggest cause of early death in Wakefield, with around 920 people dying from cancer each year across the district. Early diagnosis of cancer means there is an improved chance of survival; it maximizes the chance of a positive outcome, with screening being one of the main routes to diagnosis of cancer.

“The CCG is exceptionally pleased to work with Yorkshire Cancer Research and local health and social care partners to deliver the Wise Up To Cancer programme, which will help raise awareness of the importance of cancer screening locally.”

Dr Tim Dean, Co-chair for the Wakefield Health Alliance GP Network said: “We are very pleased about being able to help many more people from our local community use cancer screening services. While we understand that being told you have cancer can be scary, screening will pick up many cancers early enough to make the treatment more successful.”

For more information about the Wise Up To Cancer programme, please visit



(Picture caption: Back row from left, Denise Brown – Practice Nurse, Tieve Tara Medical Centre, Cathy Mullen – Cancer Screening Facilitator, NHS Wakefield CCG, Graham Williams - patient at Tieve Tara Surgery, Dr Nadim Nayyar - Co-chair at Wakefield Health Alliance GP Network and Mental Health/Learning Disability Lead, Wakefield CCG, Dr Tim Dean - Co-chair at Wakefield Health Alliance GP Network, Emma Smith – Health Protection Manager, Wakefield Council. Front row from left, Dr Deborah Hewitt – Partner at Tieve Tara Medical Centre, Susan Gilbert - Practice Manager, Tieve Tara Medical Centre, Lisa Wheater – Cancer Screening Facilitator, NHS Wakefield CCG, Lisa Trickett – Community Health Initiatives Manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research and Katie Barnett – Cancer Screening Facilitator, NHS Wakefield CCG.)

The GP practices involved are:

• Riverside Medical Centre

• Tieve Tara Medical Centre

• Henry Moore Clinic

• Station Lane Medical Centre

• St Thomas Road Surgery

• College Lane Surgery

• The Grange Medical Centre

• White Rose Surgery

• Dr SP Singh and Partners

• Dr DP Diggle and Dr RE Philips

• Ash Grove Surgery

• Northgate Surgery

• Friarwood Surgery

• Stuart Road Surgery

• Newland Surgery

• Rycroft Primary Care Centre

For more information:

• Bowel Screening Helpline - 0800 7074 60 60 (Freephone)

• Breast Screening Service - 0113 206 3816 or 0113 206 3818

• Cervical Screening – Contact GP


  1. Public Health England, National General Practice Profiles, Screening Analysis by GP Practice 2016-17
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were created following the Health and Social Care Act in 2012, and replaced Primary Care Trusts on 1 April 2013. They are clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area.


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 575 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
  • For further information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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