How we can use the success of HPV vaccinations to improve prevention

Our head of services Anna Ruthven shares some thoughts on how vaccinations hold the key to a healthier future.

The expression ‘prevention is better than cure’ has been given a new lease of life since Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined his vision for the long-term future of the NHS back in October 2018.

In my role, I get to see how so many of the services we provide across McKesson are helping to prevent health problems for our patients. Stopping conditions before they have chance to appear is much less costly for our health service and most importantly, is far more preferential for patients. When you look at the ever increasing pressure on the health service, screening and vaccinations might just hold the key to a healthier future for our country.

I was excited to read the outcome of the Lancet review recently which showed a fall in HPV cases and even suggested that one day we may see the total eradication of cervical cancer. That would be the ultimate example of prevention!

Sadly, there are still 3,200 cases of cervical cancer and 850 deaths from the disease each year. Hopefully the news from this week will encourage even more young women to get vaccinated.

Our MASTA business is best known for offering community-based travel services through our network of MASTA clinics and pharmacies – but we actually provide a wide range of specialist wellness vaccinations. We have administered thousands of HPV vaccinations already this year and as faith in the vaccine continues to rise, I expect the numbers to go up even more.

As a leading UK healthcare organisation, we have a role to play in the education around prevention of conditions like HPV. The more people know, the more likely they are to seek out screening and vaccinations – which in turn will free up capacity for the NHS and enable more people to live healthier lives, free from these kinds of diseases.

Our drive this year is to create even easier access to our travel and wellness vaccinations as we expand the number of MASTA clinics across the country. This is a big part of our vision for the future of pharmacy which will become more and more about providing speciality services in the community.