North Derbyshire Breast Screening services is currently keeping four of its screening vans in continuous operation, rather than the usual two, and staff are working on their days off and weekends to ensure women can access the potentially life-saving checks.
One of the vans will be calling into Chapel Health Centre, Thornbrook Road, on Monday, September 20. A stop at New Mills Clinic, on Hyde Bank Road, has been slated for October – though the schedule may be subject to change depending on staff availability and uptake from women.
The mobile screening unit was taken off the road last year, ostensibly due to Covid, meaning patients had to travel to Chesterfield or Bakewell instead – an extra distance which meant many were unable to reach their appointment.
NHS managers have heeded calls from women and public figures across the county to reinstate the mobile service, and appointments in Buxton began again in July.
High Peak MP Robert Largan was among those who welcomed the news, saying: “I am delighted that screening clinics are coming back. Given the importance of early diagnosis for breast cancer survival rates, this reinstatement will undoubtedly save lives.
“A huge thanks to our local NHS staff for working so hard to bring this service back and catch up on the backlog.”
Run by the Chesterfield Royal Hospital Trust, the service invites around 20,000 women for screening each year.
As part of a plan to address the backlog, changes to working practice will increase the number of appointments, and patients will be contacted directly and invited to attend. The service is currently recruiting mammographers, having already taken on two trainees.
Eligible patients, predominantly women aged 50-71, are offered appointments once every three years as part of the National Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP), which has been shown to save around 1,300 lives every year through early detection and treatment.
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