Gordon Ramsay, Nadiya Hussein, actress Emma Thompson and a number of lockdown heroes, are backing the major new campaign as new research found that even now, nearly half (48%) of the public would delay or not seek medical help at all.
A fifth (22%) would not want to be a burden on the health service while a similar number said that fear of getting coronavirus or passing it onto others was a major reason for not getting help.
More than four in 10 people would leave it longer to get health advice than they normally would have before the coronavirus outbreak. However, delaying can have serious consequences. NHS staff have worked hard to keep cancer services going throughout the pandemic, with almost one million people referred for checks or starting treatment since the virus took hold.
The NHS’s Help Us Help You access campaign will use a range of advertisements to urge people to speak to their GP if they are worried about a symptom that could be cancer, and also remind pregnant women to attend check-ups and seek advice if they are worried about their baby.
People with mental health issues are also been encouraged to access NHS support.
England’s top GP says that people should not hesitate to get help and that waiting could have serious consequences for patients.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and medical director for primary care in England said, “Alongside treating 110,000 people with coronavirus, NHS staff have gone to great lengths to make sure that people who do not have COVID can safely access services.
“So whether you or a loved one has a routine appointment, or a potential cancer symptom, our message is clear – you are not a burden, we are here to safely care for you so please don’t delay – Help Us Help You and come forward as you usually would.
“Cancer is easier to treat when it’s caught at an earlier stage and so coming forward for a check could save your life.”
NHS services have put a range of measures in place so that people can be treated safely throughout the pandemic.
Symptoms of cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits, including blood in your poo
- Unexplained weight loss
- A lump
- Persistent bloating
- Pain that does not go away
TV chef Gordon Ramsay said “As we head into winter, it’s really important that we remember that despite COVID-19, the NHS can still see us safely. I was really pleased to help reassure the public and remind them that the NHS is here for them when they need it.”
Dr Amir Khan added, “COVID-19 has been hugely challenging for everyone and while it’s easy to understand why people are fearful about seeking medical advice and want to avoid being a burden, it’s so important that people come to see us when they need us. If you’re pregnant, please go to your antenatal appointment and contact us if you’re worried about your health or your baby’s health. And if you’ve spotted something you think might be cancer, please contact your GP. We’re still here and we can see you safely.”
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