Seeking views on breast screening from Western Isles women

Women across Scotland are being asked for their views on the breast screening programme, as part of the first national review of the service.

An initial survey of views will run throughout August 2011, to be followed by a more detailed consultation commencing January 2012.

NHS Western Isles Public Health Practitioner Sara Bartram said: “This is your opportunity to make sure future service developments meet the needs of women across the Western Isles.”

Each year, screening of women aged 50 to 70 helps to detect nearly 1,500 breast cancers, with earlier detection helping to ensure earlier treatment and a better chance of survival.

Carol Colquhoun, National Screening Coordinator NSD said: “The Scottish Breast Screening Programme plays an important role in saving lives. Screening detects breast cancers at an early stage giving women the opportunity of earlier treatment and better outcomes.

“Over the years, the Programme has been steadily developing, including extending the upper age range to 70 years and introducing two-view screening at every round. Now we need to ensure that this high quality service remains clinically and cost-effective as further developments such as the implementation of digital mammography equipment are introduced.”

The aim of the Review is to ensure that it can adapt to meet future challenges, and remain a sustainable high quality and equitable breast screening service for women aged 50 to 70 resident in Scotland, and in the most clinical and cost effective way.

The Review was launched in conjunction with the publication of the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early Implementation Plan, designed to increase the number of Scottish residents diagnosed in the first stage of cancer by 25%, with the aim of saving more than 300 lives a year by the end of this Parliamentary term.

The Review will cover the structure and delivery of the screening service, which is currently delivered through a network of mobile and fixed units. It will not cover wider policy, such as targets or the age range of those screened.

Audrey Birt, Director for Scotland at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “It is important that all women of screening age get involved in this review so that the screening programme in Scotland continues to provide a quality service with the interests of women at its heart.”

Carol added: “We want to hear women’s views about the breast screening service, both from those who accept the invitation to screening and those who do not.”

The questionnaire can be accessed from Monday, 1 August to Wednesday, 31 August at www.nsd.scot.nhs.uk/sbspsurvey or for more information, contact Marie Richmond on marie.richmond@nhs.net or 0131 275 6517.