Breast Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 7 of the National Audit Report's investigation into the management of health screening, published on 30 January 2019, how his Department plans to ensure that the standard for repeat breast screenings which guarantees an appointment within 36 months of a previous appointment is met with 100 per cent success.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The NHS Breast Screening Programme minimum standard is that 90% of women should be re-invited within 36 months of their previous screen.

The Department delegates NHS England to commission breast screening providers to work to the agreed national service specifications and provides supporting guidance produced by Public Health England (PHE) to ensure standards are met.

Improvements to the current repeat breast screening interval (round length) to meet national standards require providers to balance ever changing parameters, such as the eligible population, availability of breast screening workforce, estates and the logistics of the mobile units, used for mammography.

PHE is addressing the current workforce issue through supporting key stakeholders including Health Education England, the Royal College of Radiologists, and the Society and College of Radiographers to assist in workforce recruitment and retention of Radiographers and Radiologists. NHS England, at local level, is using the framework of the National Health Service contract to work with providers and PHE to also improve this standard.

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