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AAA screening ‘to cover 80% of country’

More than 37,000 screening tests have been carried out under the aortic abdominal aneurysm screening programme, which is on target to cover four-fifths of the country.

The programme is scheduled to cover 80% of England by the end of the current financial year. Similar programmes are also running in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Phase three will be by far the biggest and busiest national implementation phase. The first of 19 Phase three programmes, which will together cover approximately 80% of the country, is due to ‘go live' on 12 October.

In a programme update letter to the NHS states: ‘There is very little scope to change timescales and the national AAA screening training courses have restricted capacity and are delivered on a limited number of fixed dates. It is therefore very important that programmes stick to their implementation schedules.'

‘Planning has also begun in earnest for Phase four, the final phase of national implementation, that will see the remaining 20% of England roll out AAA screening between October 2012 and April 2013.'

In the last financial year more than 37,000 initial and surveillance screening tests were carried out and more than 600 men with AAA were detected. There were also nearly 1,900 surveillance scans and more than 100 referrals.

A total of 81 men screened under the national programme underwent operations to repair the aneurysms.

Mr Jonothan Earnshaw, national director of the AAA screening programme, told Pulse: ‘The whole process should go on quietly behind GPs. But men will approach them to find out what's going on.

‘Men are invited in their 65th year and the screening centre arranges scans and keeps GPs informed at all times. Men with larger aortas are put under surveillance programme that we run and keep the GPs informed of.'