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RCN rejects call to screen young people for cardiac abnormalities

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Nurses at RCN Congress last week voted against screening all young people for cardiac abnormalities.

A resolution, proposed by Rhoda Craig of the RCN’s United and Homefirst branch, said making cardiac screening more widely available for young people could help identify cardiac problems in the young and save lives.

‘At least 12 young people die suddenly each week in the UK from cardiac abnormalities, sudden death syndrome or sudden cardiac death,’ she said.

‘I believe strongly that screening is the way forward,’ she added.

However, RCN voting member David Dawes claimed that blanket cardiac screening in young people could result in a significantly high false-positive rate.

‘To detect two people with cardiac abnormalities you are going to get a false-positive for about 270 people. This causes real fear, real distress, treatment and trauma that is completely unnecessary,’ he said.

Sally Gooch, from RCN Suffolk branch, added that screening all young people for cardiac problems would not be cost effective and that other services might suffer as a result of funding being redirected into such an initiative.

‘The less glamorous services and the services that patients need from nurses – continence care, wound care and dementia care – these are the things that don’t get funded when we fund things that are not cost effective,’ she said.

The resolution was narrowly rejected, with and 47% voting in favour and 53% voting against.   

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