- The investment will fund seven new mobile breast screening units;
- More than 100,000 women are screened for breast cancer every year in Wales;
- The units visit approximately 100 locations across Wales;
- They are designed to make the service easier for disabled users and older patients.
The seven mobile screening units will replace Breast Test Wales’ ageing fleet.
Public Health Wales has already provided funding to replace three other mobile units this year, the first of their type in the UK. The units visit approximately 100 locations across Wales.
More than 100,000 women are screened for breast cancer every year in Wales, and roughly half of all registered cases each year are diagnosed through the national screening programme.
The investment is part of a wider scheme by Breast Test Wales to modernise and improve screening services over the next few years.
The new units, which are designed to make the service easier for disabled users and older patients, will:
- Speed up access to screening;
- Support a growing demand for equal access to screening services across Wales by providing facilities in local, convenient locations; and,
- Enhance patients’ experiences of screening in order to encourage more women to keep coming forward for routine check-ups.
The First Minister, said:
“These new state-of-the-art units will enhance the service on offer to patients and provide a better working environment for staff.
“In addition to enabling easier access for disabled patients, the new units will ensure Breast Test Wales can sustain its service in the long term, providing patients with access to this vital screening in convenient locations across Wales.”
The Health Minister, Edwina Hart, is currently considering further proposals by Breast Test Wales to improve screening services.
They include plans to introduce high-tech digital equipment that will enable Breast Test Wales to work collaboratively with consultants and partners and allow patients to benefit from a more efficient screening service.
Ms Hart added:
“In the current challenging economic climate, this investment shows clearly our determination to continue to support frontline services.
"The use of mobile units is in line with our Rural Health Plan aims of ensuring access to healthcare in rural areas.
“Early detection and diagnosis ensure better outcomes for patients and therefore it is essential that all women attend their screening when invited.”
Dr Hilary Fielder, Director of Screening for Public Health Wales, said:
“Many of the women who were unable to climb the steps of our mobile units have had to travel long distances for screening. We know that many haven’t felt able to take advantage of the breast screening programme. So I am delighted that we will now be able to offer screening to more women in Wales.”
The seven new mobile units are likely to be in operation by January 2011.