More screening visits with new mobile units

Pictured in one of the new units are, from left, Margaret Holland, superintendent radiographer; Roberta Brownlee, Southern Trust chair; former Health Minister Jim Wells MLA; Gillian Sandford, deputy superintendent radiographer, Nicola Kelly, project manager, and Dr Linda Johnston, director of breast screening. INPT19-002

Pictured in one of the new units are, from left, Margaret Holland, superintendent radiographer; Roberta Brownlee, Southern Trust chair; former Health Minister Jim Wells MLA; Gillian Sandford, deputy superintendent radiographer, Nicola Kelly, project manager, and Dr Linda Johnston, director of breast screening. INPT19-002

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The mobile breast screening service will be visiting more community locations across the Southern Trust, after taking delivery of two new state-of-the-art units.

The units are fully digital, meaning images are no longer printed onto film but are viewed and stored electronically, significantly enhancing image quality and providing technology to help improve early detection of cancer.

Dr Linda Johnston, director of breast screening for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said, “The two new mobile units offer significant benefits, including an improved patient experience in a more comfortable environment.

“A major design feature is improvements in access, particularly for less able patients, which include more space within the unit, a disabled access lift, illuminated step treads to reduce trip hazards for visually impaired clients and a staff call feature for those who cannot manage the steps.”

She added, “Breast screening can detect cancer at an early stage, improving the chance of a successful recovery and reducing the risk of dying from the disease. Approximately 1,300 lives are saved each year in the UK as a result of the breast screening programme.

“All women aged 50 to 70 in Northern Ireland are invited for breast screening every three years. Already, 75 per cent of these women attend their appointment but there is still room for improvement.

“We want to save as many lives as possible by encouraging early detection of breast cancer, so to help make the process much more convenient and accessible to women, we are bringing the units to more community locations.”

Women aged over 70 do not receive an automatic invitation but can ring to request an appointment on 028 3839 7020. The units will rotate between Lurgan Hospital, Dromalane Site, Newry, Armagh Community Hospital, South Tyrone Hospital, and Banbridge Health Centre.