As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that have been imposed across the country over the last 12-15 months, the National Office has changed the way that women are invited to attend their breast screening appointments to increase up-take and improve flexibility.
Milton Keynes University Hospital works with 29 GP surgeries across Milton Keynes to invite women aged between 50 – 71 years old to attend a Breast Screening appointment. These appointments are then repeated every three years.
Previously, women would be sent a specific appointment for a certain date and time. Now there is an open style invitation (similar to Cervical Screening) where women are able to call or email in response to their letter to book at a time that is convenient to them. To follow up and ensure that appointments are booking promptly, the hospital works in close collaboration with local GP surgeries to send a reminder text message. Upon receiving an invitation letter, women are strongly encouraged to schedule their appointment as soon as possible.
The Breast Screening Programme has continued to operate at MKUH and we have put a number of measures in place so that clinics can continue to run safely. This includes additional cleaning across both sites, wearing face masks, providing hand sanitiser and introducing a one-way system on the mobile screening unit so that patients, and staff, feel comfortable.
You can find out more about the COVID-19 safety measures we’ve put in place in the video below:
Dr Sheeba Taneja, consultant radiologist and Director of Breast Screening at MKUH, said: “Women have been worried about attending their breast screening appointments due to the pandemic.
“Here at MKUH, we want to assure you that screening is continuing to be provided in a safe manner at the hospital and in our mobile van.
“Breast screening ceased during the first UK lockdown, leaving us with a large backlog of women requiring their screen. This delay may mean that some women have been living with an undetected cancer, so we are trying to encourage the women of MK to attend.
“So, when you receive your invitation for breast screening, please call up and make your appointment with the assurance that your safety is a priority at all our sites.”
The NHS offers screening to save lives from breast cancer. Screening does this by finding breast cancers at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel. About 1,300 lives are saved from breast cancer each year in the UK.
If you have any queries or concerns about breast screening appointments, please call the Breast Screening office on 01908 995883.