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Our blueprint to transform breast screening

Read about our plan to ensure that all eligible women have equal access to breast screening, to provide the best opportunity to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

We've created a plan to ensure all eligible women have equal access to breast screening that provides the best opportunity to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

We know how important breast screening is. Breast cancers detected by screening are the most likely to be diagnosed early, and the screening programme prevents 1,300 breast cancer deaths in the UK every year.

But we also know that the programme right now is at breaking point. Screening services still rely on outdated IT and face significant staff shortages, And they’re not ready to introduce new innovations that could help catch more cancers earlier.

This is why we’ve produced our blueprint, aiming to transform breast screening by 2028. Using data, patient insight and clinical feedback, our blueprint has solutions to help make sure breast screening is an effective, efficient system for early diagnosis.

The blueprint’s recommendations are built around 5 core principles we believe breast screening must meet. Here are the principles:

The recommendations set out in the blueprint are built around 5 core principles we believe breast screening must be –

Accessible: Breast screening must be widely available through various routes that are convenient and guarantee equal access. The breast screening programme should be routinely promoted, especially in areas with low attendance. And these messages should be focused on the benefits of screening for early diagnosis. Eligible women must be given access to clear, relevant information on breast screening and be able to get their questions answered.

Efficient: The breast screening programme must make the better use of staff time and resources. This should begin with IT upgrades that will save clinical time, automate processes and improve the patient experience. There must be greater collaboration between screening units to help best practice spread widely and quickly, as will better links into other breast cancer services. Offering all at-risk breast screening through the programme guarantees all women have access to the same high quality care.

Well-resourced: Previously, improvements to breast screening have been limited. This is due to a lack of long-term planning and a lack of investment, in everything from staff recruitment and training, to equipment. The way breast screening is funded and staffed must be improved so it’s sustainable for the future.

Transparent: Without the right information and data, screening services can’t confidently choose ways to improve the programme. Quality data on the programme’s current performance, and longer term projections, like the future level of demand, must be available at a local level to help teams on the ground.

Ready for the future: There’s a lot of exciting research going on that will shape the future of breast screening. Although, the system in its current state isn’t prepared to quickly adopt new technologies or respond to new insights. We must start laying the groundwork so we can make the most of new innovations in breast screening.

As well as these 5 principles, we’ve set out a timeline for achieving key screening milestones, to show whether progress is being made.

This blueprint will form the foundation of our campaigning on breast screening, as we work to get the blueprint’s recommendations introduced into the breast screening programme.

Read the full set of blueprint recommendations

Support our #NoTimeToWaste campaign

Read the blueprint

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