GIRFT shares posters to schools to raise awareness of testicular torsion

A series of NHS posters aiming to raise awareness among boys and education leaders of the need to act quickly on testicular torsion has been made available to schools.

In February, GIRFT shared its national pathway for best practice in the management of testicular torsion, developed by a multi-disciplinary group of more than 50 NHS colleagues –urologists, paediatric surgeons, general surgeons, anaesthetists, emergency care physicians, radiologists and Operational Delivery Network (ODN) leads – with the aim of reducing delays and preventing more boys and men losing a testicle.

One of the 28 consensus statements agreed by the working group stated that education about testicular torsion should be delivered by schools, so that boys experiencing acute testicular pain recognise the signs of torsion and the importance of acting quickly, and feel confident in reporting it to an adult.

In collaboration with members of NHS England’s Youth Forum, GIRFT has worked to develop three youth-focused posters designed for display in boys’ toilets in schools. A link to the posters has now been featured in the Department for Education’s latest Sector bulletin, sent to 72,000 education leaders across the UK.

The bulletin encourages teachers to download the posters and reminds them of a series of NHS-endorsed online resources developed by clinicians, including information for teenagers and parents and lesson plans for use in Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) lessons, as well as other information on causes of pain in the testicles on the NHS website.

Testicular torsion is a time-critical surgical emergency, which occurs when a testicle twists, cutting off the blood supply and causing sudden scrotal pain. It can happen at any age but is most common in teenagers and young adults, and occurs in around 1 in 1,000 boys between the age of 10 and 20. If a testicle is twisted, it can die within six hours unless the patient has emergency surgery.

It is widely recognised that the time between the onset of pain from testicular torsion and contact with a healthcare practitioner can be delayed because of the private and sensitive nature of the condition. While the GIRFT pathway is for clinicians – beginning at the point of presentation whether at a GP practice, the emergency department or to NHS 111 – the pathway working group recognised that better awareness is key to ensuring timely presentation.

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