NHS in Gateshead secures contract for AAA screening programme across North East and North Cumbria

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has successfully secured the delivery of the AAA screening programme across North East and North Cumbria. The new contract is set to begin on 1 December 2023, with the Trust having held this contract for the last 12 years.

AAA screening is vital in identifying and treating abdominal aortic aneurysms, which are more common in men over the age of 65. By offering screening to men during the year they turn 65, the NHS aims to catch any swelling in the aorta early on, when it is more treatable.

It is estimated that around 1 in 70 men in England aged between 65 and 74 have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Through screening, it can reduce the death rate from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms among men aged 65 and over by up to 50 per cent.

AAA screening video

AAA screening service

The abdominal aortic aneurysm screening program is a free NHS screening test which aims to reduce the number of deaths from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm in men. Men are chosen as they are six times more likely to have an aneurysm than women. You will be automatically invited for screening sometime in your 65th year. Men over 65 can self-refer by contacting the screening centre on 0191 445 2554.
The abdominal aorta is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body sometimes the wall of the aorta can become weak and stretch to form a ballooning in the abdomen this is an aortic aneurysm if this happens there is a risk that the aorta may rupture causing internal bleeding if it became too large. There are no signs and symptoms with an AAA therefore if you have one you still might not have any pain or notice any difference. Men are at much higher risk particularly if they smoke if they have increased blood pressure if they have increased cholesterol and also if there is a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm. The easiest way to find out if you have an aneurysm is to have an ultrasound scan.

Please don’t ignore your invitation it could save your life.

Men eligible for screening are sent an invitation letter around three weeks before their appointment. They are given a date and time for their scan and an information leaflet. Invitations are sent from their local screening office containing full details about attending for screening, the test and the possible results.

In successfully securing the contract, Jo Baxter, Chief Operating Officer for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “This successful bid is great news for Gateshead Health, which is committed to providing high-quality healthcare services to the community. The team is excited about the opportunity to continue delivering the AAA screening programme to the people of North East and North Cumbria and looks forward to making a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the region.

“This is a significant step towards improving the health outcomes of our communities, and we remain committed to providing the best possible healthcare services to our patients.”

Fergus Neilson, Screening and Immunisation Lead in NHS England for North East and North Cumbria said: “Our team in NHS England are very pleased to have completed a thorough and competitive procurement and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and their AAA Screening team have, once again, demonstrated that they are an organisation that provides high quality screening services to our population in the North East and North Cumbria.    AAA Screening is a life saver for some men and we are looking forward to even more men benefiting from this valuable screening programme.”

The North East of England and North Cumbria AAA Screening Service is managed by the Clinical Support and Screening business unit located at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and operates through local clinics across the North East and North Cumbria.