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Bowel cancer charities merger 'will help increase specialist nurses'

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Two bowel cancer charities are to merge next year in move that is expected to increase the number of nurses working in the specialty and improve patient survival rates.

Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer will be legally joined in early January and relaunched with a new name in mid-2018.

“Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer are joining together because we are not prepared to wait for change to happen, we are determined to drive it”

Deborah Alsina

They say that working together will help them reach the goal of no one dying from bowel cancer by 2050.

The disease is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer yet is preventable and treatable if diagnosed early.

Bowel Cancer UK is a research charity and Beating Bowel Cancer provides patients with support and information. The latter runs the National Colorectal Cancer Nurses Network and its Scottish equivalent, the Scottish Colorectal Nurses Group.

The plan is that the merged charity will lead to an increase in the number of bowel cancer nurses across the country and improved rates of survival for patients.

The newly formed organisation has set itself a 10-year pledge to move from half of those with bowel cancer surviving for five years or more, to three out of four people surviving the disease.

There will be no redundancies as part of the merger and the new charity will start with 65 members of staff. Beating Bowel Cancer currently employs one nurse and Bowel Cancer UK has none.

“We already have exciting plans for 2018 including awarding our first research grants”

Patrick Figgis

Supporting research, providing information for patients and families, improving awareness of the disease, and campaigning for early diagnosis will be among the new organisation’s priorities.

The charity will be led by Bowel Cancer UK’s current chief executive, Deborah Alsina and chaired by Patrick Figgis, trustee of Beating Bowel Cancer.

”Both boards of trustees unanimously welcome this merger as the best opportunity to achieve our shared vision of a world where no one dies of bowel cancer,” said Mr Figgis.

“We already have exciting plans for 2018 including awarding our first research grants, and digital development of our patient and carer services,” he added.

Ms Alsina said that with over 41,000 people diagnosed and 16,000 people dying from bowel cancer every year it was time to take action.

“Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer are joining together because we are not prepared to wait for change to happen, we are determined to drive it forward so lives can be saved,” she said.

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