Breast screening review

HIS to undertake review of screening programme.

The Scottish Government has commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to review the Scottish Breast Screening Programme, run by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS).

The review follows an exercise undertaken by NSS which identified that a number of women across Scotland had not received breast screening invitations in line with standard timescales. This is a historical issue with the invitation process and the breast screening service remains unaffected.

All women affected have already been contacted and offered an opportunity to attend for a breast screening appointment.

The purpose of the HIS review will be to establish why these women were not called for routine breast screening appointments within standard timescales and to provide reassurance to the Scottish Government that all appropriate action has been taken and lessons have been learned, as well as to identify areas for improvement.

Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood said:

“In light of the issues that have been identified, we have asked Healthcare Improvement Scotland to undertake a review of this particular incident to see why some women were not invited. This will ensure that women across the country continue to be offered the best possible service.

“Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to establish a national breast screening programme and it is vital than we ensure that it continues to provide a high quality service which meets the needs of women.

“I would encourage all those invited for breast screening to take up their offer.”

Breast screening services will continue uninterrupted while the review takes place. The six national screening centres across Scotland have ensured that those affected have been offered an opportunity to attend for a breast screening appointment.

Notes to editors

Women aged 50 to 70 years are invited for routine mammographic screening once every three years. Women over 70 years can self-refer for screening once every three years by contacting their local breast screening centre.

There are six Breast Screening Centres in NHS Scotland and screening is offered in the six static screening centres and twenty mobile breast screening units.
NHS National Service Scotland has responsibility for commissioning and national co-ordination of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme (SBSP).

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) is currently recruiting the external members of the review team including a Chair, and the scope and methodology of the review is available on their website:

Background to review:
In August 2015, a woman contacted her breast screening centre to report that she had not been called for a breast screening appointment within the usual invitation cycle. This resulted in a local investigation into cases of women whose screening call or recall was delayed.

The immediate priority was to ensure that the women who had not been screened within the usual timescales were identified. This has now taken place and the women have been offered fast-tracked appointments for breast screening. This process has been monitored through SBSP, National Services Division (NSD), NHS Boards and Scottish Government arrangements.

The Scottish Government has now asked HIS to undertake a review that will fully understand the reasons why some women had not been called/recalled to their routine breast screening appointment, provide assurance and identify any points of learning for the future service.


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