The first NHS England (London) drop-in cancer clinic was opened in a local community centre in Haringey, London, in early February.
Two cancer specialist nurses have been running the clinic three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. People can visit the clinic without an appointment to be checked by one of the nurses and to receive information about the signs of cancer and risk factors.
The clinic aims to provide a place where people can go and discuss issues related to cancer, receive advice and pick up information. The nurses are also able to provide information about local initiatives around smoking cessation and diet control that can help to reduce the risk of developing cancer. They can refer to GP practices in the area, should the need arise.
The London borough of Haringey has a high number of cancer-related deaths but around 40 per cent of deaths from cancer are believed to be preventable through lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, improving diet and taking exercise.
Sheila Williams, one of the cancer specialist nurses working in the clinic, explained that the aim of the clinic was to encourage people to think about cancer. 'In comparison to other European countries, we have very high rates of cancer, so we hope that this clinic will get people to think more about cancer and the risk factors for developing the disease.'
The clinic is the result of a year-long partnership between NHS England (London) 'Get to know cancer' and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, which is committed to raising awareness of symptoms and promoting early diagnosis throughout the 2013/2014 football season. Previously pop-up shops have been launched and market stalls opened as part of the 'Get to know cancer' campaign, but this is the first drop-in clinic established.
The clinic forms part of a five-year strategy from NHS England (London) aimed at boosting cancer services, enhancing patient experience and raising survival rates. The strategy, produced in partnership between NHS England (London), London's CCGs, Public Health England, the Integrated Cancer systems and charity partners, sets out key recommendations for health services across the capital.