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Breast screening rates improved thanks to joint working

Published Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Enfield Council and NHS Enfield have been celebrating the increasing number of women who have come forward for breast screening thanks to a number of initiatives making it easier to access the service.

At present women are sent an invitation in the post once every 3 years from the age of 50. They are invited in groups depending on which GP they are registered with which means that for some women they may be closer to 53 than 50 before they are invited. However there are plans to extend the screening age of women down to 47 and up to 73 by the summer, so even more women can benefit.

The NHS Screening programme continues to invite women every 3 years until the age of 70. Women over the age of 70 are asked to book an appointment by contacting the North London Breast Screening Service on 0208 951 4045.

3,800 Enfield women were screened last year - 69% of the eligible population an increase from 53%.

In order to make it easier for women to be screened in the borough a new Breast Screening Unit has been opened at Forest Primary Care Centre on the Hertford Road in Edmonton, this new facility is one of the main reasons that there has been such a high rate of improvement in screening. The unit is conveniently located with good transport links.  New initiatives that have been introduced to make it more convenient for women to access breast screening include making it easier to get through on the phones to book an appointment, giving a better choice of appointment time and also developing clearer appointment letters.

Karen Keane, Screening Co-ordinator for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey said "I am delighted with the recent improvements to the service and the increase in numbers of women coming forward for breast screening. We have been working hard to overcome the identified barriers to screening and in this way overcome some of the health inequalities we know exist in Enfield.

"I would like even more women to accept the offer of a free mammogram. If there are community groups or individuals who are willing to volunteer some time to help us to achieve this please contact me on 0208 370 8202"

Debbie Brazil, Programme Manager for the North London Breast Screening Service said "We are delighted that the improvements we have put in place over the last two years, such as shorter phone waiting times, more choice of appointments, clearer appointment letters and more accurate location maps to name a very few, have resulted in more women taking up their breast screening appointments and a smoother patient experience.

"We are now working towards extending the screening age of women down to 47 and up to 73 by the summer so that even more women in Enfield can benefit"

Cllr Don McGowan, Cabinet Member for Health for Enfield Council said "It is very important that we encourage women to come forward for breast screening as the earlier that any cancers are detected the better the outcome.

"One of Enfield Council's visions is Fairness for All, and that means meeting the needs of all residents in the borough, protecting those that are vulnerable, and providing fair and equal access to services and opportunities. By locating the new screening facility in Forest Road we have taken a major step in improving health outcomes in the East of the borough.
"Tackling the inequalities in Enfield is at the heart of what Enfield Council wants to achieve, it aims to serve the whole borough fairly and tackle inequality; provide high quality, affordable and accessible services for all. The initiatives that have been put in place which have increased screening numbers here have met these aims."

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