Positive screening uptake among Withernsea residents

Communications TeamNews

The exterior of the mobile breast screening unit

Health professionals are praising Withernsea residents for their support following disruption to breast screening services in the town.

Late last year, Humberside Breast Screening Service’s mobile unit was subject to vandalism and cable theft while stationed in Withernsea. To ensure patients were able to be screened on time and to minimise further disruption to the service, staff set about contacting hundreds of people to invite them for screening at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham instead.

The team reports that this latest round of screening is now complete, and staff are pleased to see a positive uptake from local people, as Lesley Peacock, Breast Screening Service Manager explains:

“Being able to offer screening opportunities within local communities is really important to us, but the repeated vandalism and cable theft before Christmas left us with no alternative but to invite people to Castle Hill Hospital instead.

“We did have reservations as to whether the extra travel to Cottingham may impact or deter people from attending, but we’re pleased to say that this wasn’t the case, and in fact, we’ve seen an increase in breast screening uptake among local people compared to this time three years ago, when the unit last came to Withernsea.”

Figures show a rise of almost 5%, with 78.8% of all those invited from the Withernsea area attending breast screening in the last few months, compared to 74% in 2020/21. Staff from the screening service have also noted a rise in the number of people attending first invitations, and more people attending screening who had previously declined.

Karen Hallberg, Superintendent Radiographer says:

“We’d really like to thank everyone who has been able to make the journey over to Castle Hill Hospital to take up their screening invitations over the last few months. Breast screening enables us to spot potentially serious changes at an early stage, so it’s really encouraging to see that the unfortunate circumstances in which we found ourselves last year didn’t deter people from travelling and getting themselves checked out. We’re really keen to see this positive trend continue next time we visit Withernsea.”

The mobile breast screening unit moves between different towns on a three-yearly screening cycle, with the next visit to Withernsea due to take place in 2027. A full security review will be conducted beforehand to provide people with greater assurance around ongoing local access and to minimise the risk of further disruption.

More information on breast screening can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-screening-mammogram/