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Healthier Futures - News & Publications

Walsall people encouraged to take part in ground-breaking blood test cancer trial

Thousands of letters are being sent to adults in Walsall this week, inviting them to take part in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new cancer-detecting blood test.

The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, including thousands in the West Midlands, to see how well the test works in the NHS.

Walsall is the first location in the West Midlands to take part and will host a mobile clinic on Sainsbury’s car park on Reedswood Way. The clinic will be there for a month from 29 October before moving on to more locations in the West Midlands.

Letters from the NHS are being sent out this week, inviting some local people aged between 50 and 77 to take part in the trial, providing they haven’t had a cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last three years.

Participants will be asked to give a blood sample at the mobile clinic, and will then be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years, to give further samples.

Research has shown that this simple blood test is particularly effective at finding cancers that are usually difficult to identify early – such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic, and throat cancers. It works by finding chemical changes in fragments of genetic code – cell-free DNA (cfDNA) – that leak from tumours into the bloodstream.

The trial team are inviting people from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities to ensure results are relevant for as many different people as possible.

Dr Joo Ee Teoh, GP Cancer Lead for the Black Country and West Birmingham, said: “Detecting cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat is proven to improve your chances of survival. With many types of cancer nowadays, it’s even possible to make a full recovery if we can start treatment early enough.

“What makes the Galleri test so special is the potential to spot cancers long before symptoms even appear, and we’re delighted that Walsall has been chosen to be at the forefront of this important trial.

“I would encourage anyone who is invited to take part, to please do so. This is your chance to be part of some truly ground-breaking work to develop a test that has the potential to save countless lives in the future.”

West Midlands Cancer Alliance is supporting the project by helping to ensure that any local participants who test positive get the necessary follow-up appointments.

Sarah Hughes, Managing Director Cancer Alliances Midlands, welcomed the trial, saying: “If you receive a letter, please do consider volunteering as soon as you can by booking an appointment online or over the phone while the clinic is based in Walsall.”

The NHS-Galleri trial is being run by The Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit in partnership with NHS England and healthcare company GRAIL, which has developed the Galleri test.

The trial is the latest initiative launched by the NHS to meet its Long Term Plan commitment of finding three-quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028. Patients whose condition is diagnosed at ‘stage one’ typically have between five and 10 times the chance of surviving compared with those found at ‘stage four’.

Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, NHS England plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

Sir Harpal Kumar, President of GRAIL Europe, said: “We’re delighted to partner with the NHS to support the NHS Long Term Plan for earlier cancer diagnosis, and we are eager to bring our technology to people in the England as quickly as we can. The Galleri test can not only detect a wide range of cancer types but can also predict where the cancer is in the body with a high degree of accuracy. The test is particularly strong at detecting deadly cancers and has a very low rate of false positives.”

In the meantime, local health chiefs are reminding people to keep up with their usual NHS screening appointments and stay alert to the symptoms of cancer.

Dr Masood Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The NHS’s screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer save lives every year by detecting these cancers at the earliest possible stage. Whether you are invited to take part in the Galleri trial or not, it’s really important to go for your routine screening appointments when invited.

“If you notice any changes or symptoms that worry you, at any time, your local NHS is here for you. Please don’t delay in seeking advice from your GP or visiting NHS 111 online.”

Recruitment begins for the Black Country Integrated Care Board Chief Executive Officer

NHS England is advertising for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the future Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations, local government and the voluntary sector. These partnerships aim to meet health and care needs, to coordinate services and to plan in a way that improves population health and reduces inequalities between different groups.

From April 2022 (subject to legislation) ICSs will become statutory bodies led by an Integrated Care Board (ICB), which will take on functions from the current NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as well as greater strategic responsibility for setting healthcare strategies for their local system. The new Black Country ICS will cover Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The new Chief Executive Officer will lead the Integrated Care Board and will help leaders from the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector to work even more closely together to join up services, personalise care, tackle health inequalities and improve people’s health across the local area.

The open recruitment process is being led by NHS England and NHS Improvement, with involvement from all partners across the local health and care system, and is expected to conclude in October.

Jonathan Fellows, Chair Designate of the Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “We are looking to recruit an outstanding Chief Executive Officer to lead our staff and service users through the latest phase of the pandemic and beyond.

“The role of Chief Executive Officer of the Black Country Integrated Care Board is a fundamentally important one, and the right candidate will have a real opportunity to make a genuine and lasting impact on reducing health inequalities and delivering the best possible services to people in the Black Country.

“Our Chief Executive Officer will, alongside other system leaders, provide inspirational leadership across the system to help us create healthier futures for local people.”

For more information and for details on how to apply, please click here.  

Applications close at 23.59 on 26 September 2021.

Local NHS team shortlisted for award

A team from the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (BCWB ICS) have been named as finalists at this year’s HSJ Awards.

The community inclusion team at Healthier Futures, the Black Country and West Birmingham’s Integrated Care System, has been shortlisted for the NHS Race Equality Award, recognising their outstanding contribution in identifying and tackling ethnic health inequalities for local people.

The area was hit hard by the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020, with data indicating that ethnic minority staff had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, compared with white staff. To challenge this, the Healthier Futures team set up a BAME COVID-19 Group, chaired by an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, bringing together local organisations to help address health inequality concerns.  

The initiative has helped reduce hospital admissions for mental health during the pandemic, break down vaccine hesitancy, and bring together local partners, including the voluntary sector, to combat health inequalities - as well as supporting ethnic minority staff across the BCWB ICS.

The HSJ Awards is the biggest annual awards celebration in the health sector. Over the last 40 years they have been celebrating excellence in driving positive change in health and care settings.

Jonathan Fellows, Independent Chair of the BCWB ICS, Healthier Futures, said: “We’re delighted that the community inclusion team, who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months on this project, are being recognised for all their hard work.

“Tackling ethnic health inequalities is a critical step to ensuring everyone in society can live full and healthy lives, regardless of their background. This really is a pioneering project, tackling inequalities in practice, and to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award in the sector is a huge achievement.”

Ashi Williams, Director of People at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am so pleased that our Community Development Workers (CDWs), who work as part of our community inclusion team, have been recognised.

“The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the NHS and for people across the Black Country and West Birmingham. Our CDWs have tirelessly supported our Healthier Futures ambitions to reduce health inequalities, by working with our communities to enable innovation, collaboration and prevention. They have achieved this through work with our diverse communities – with just one of the outcomes being that vaccine hesitancy for people from an ethnic minority has been broken down and supported.

“I am so proud and thankful for the amazing work of the community inclusion team – to ensure that people from an ethnic minority are heard, that they have equitable access and opportunity to health and social care provisions, and that they are not at a detriment.”

The winners of the HSJ Awards 2021 will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London, on Thursday 18 November.

Calling all A-level students

As students receive their A-level results today, local NHS leaders across the area are calling on young people to consider a career in the NHS.

With over 350 different roles available, the NHS is one of the top 10 employers in the world, employing more than 1.3million people.

Degrees in nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects are all varied, exciting and challenging in equal measure.

Once qualified, you could work directly with patients, in hospitals, an ambulance trust, or in the community and your supportive NHS team will work with you to develop your career opportunities.

Jonathan Fellows, Independent Chair of the BCWB Integrated Care System, Healthier Futures, said: “The NHS is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding places to work, where you can make a real difference to people’s lives.

“A degree in child, adult and mental health nursing, midwifery or an allied health profession not only allows you to help people every day, but also offers some of the best rates of employability and a guaranteed job for life.

“As students receive their A-level results today, we’re asking young people wondering what path to take, and anyone thinking about a career change, to consider a career in the NHS.”

Healthcare support worker roles that are accessible without a degree or any previous healthcare experience are also in demand.

Search NHS Careers to find out more about the nursing, allied health professionals, and healthcare support worker roles available within the NHS.

In The News

  • Walsall people encouraged to take part in ground-breaking blood test cancer trial

    Thousands of letters are being sent to adults in Walsall this week, inviting them to take part in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new cancer-detecting blood test. The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, including thousands in the West Midlands, to see how well the test works in the NHS. Walsall is the first location in the We...
  • Recruitment begins for the Black Country Integrated Care Board Chief Executive Officer

    NHS England is advertising for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the future Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations, local government and the voluntary sector. These partnerships aim to meet health and care needs, to coordinate services and to plan in a way that improves population health and reduces inequalities between different groups. From April 2022 (subject to legislation) ICSs will become statutory...
  • Local NHS team shortlisted for award

    A team from the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (BCWB ICS) have been named as finalists at this year’s HSJ Awards. The community inclusion team at Healthier Futures, the Black Country and West Birmingham’s Integrated Care System, has been shortlisted for the NHS Race Equality Award, recognising their outstanding contribution in identifying and tackling ethnic health inequalities for local people. The area was hit hard by the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020, with...
  • Calling all A-level students

    As students receive their A-level results today, local NHS leaders across the area are calling on young people to consider a career in the NHS. With over 350 different roles available, the NHS is one of the top 10 employers in the world, employing more than 1.3million people. Degrees in nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects are all varied, exciting and challenging in equal measure. Once qualified, you could work directly with patients, in hospitals, an ambulance trust, or in the commu...
  • Health and Care Partnership Launches New Resource to Encourage Apprenticeships

    A new online platform has launched to highlight the wide range of apprenticeships available across health and care in the Black Country and West Birmingham https://www.healthierfutures.co.uk/apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are an opportunity to earn, learn and make a difference to the NHS with qualifications ranging from GSCE and equivalents up to master’s degrees, through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning. Recognising that it hasn't been easy to find different apprenticesh...
  • Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) Training

    Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) TrainingNews Clinicians are invited to undertake Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) Training to support colleagues to be recognised as a First Contact Practitioner with the Centre of Advancing Practice. There are two routes on the roadmap to be recognised as an FCP with the Centre of Advancing Practice: Portfolio route: requires submission of a portfolio of evidence signed off by an approved roadmap supervisor (RMSV); clinician criteria to be eligible for this training is...
  • Now hiring! Social care roles across the Black Country and West Birmingham

    A unique online recruitment event is being held next week for people interested in a career in social care within the Black Country and West Birmingham (BCWB). Social care is about supporting people to maintain their independence, dignity and control. Social care workers could work in a care home, in the local community, or provide personal support in someone’s home. Around 34,000 people are employed in social care across BCWB, and the event on Wednesday 28 April will explore the opportunities...
  • Half of Black Country & West Birmingham adults receive COVID-19 vaccine

    The NHS is celebrating an important milestone this week as more than half of all adults in the Black Country & West Birmingham have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. More than 540,000 first doses have now been administered, thanks to the unprecedented scale vaccination programme which has seen people receive their vaccine in hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, pharmacies and even local sports centres and places of worship. Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS Blac...
  • Black Country Health Chiefs say there’s a COVID-19 vaccine with your name on for everyone aged 50 and over

    Anyone aged 50 and over can get their first dose of the Covid-19 jab by registering on the door at certain local Vaccination Centres now.  Those who are eligible can arrive at on the following Vaccination Centres without an appointment from today until (and including) April 2nd :  Saddlers Centre, Walsall.  Tipton Sports Academy, Sandwell  WV Active Aldersley , Wolverhampton  Or, for the Sadlers Centre and Tipton Sports Academy, they can book by calling 119 or o...
  • Black Country & West Birmingham to become Integrated Care System

    The Black Country and West Birmingham STP has been given the green light to deliver increasingly joined-up health and care services for the people in our region, as we formally move to become an Integrated Care System (ICS) next month. ...