Commenting on the latest Breast Screening Performance Data 2021-2022, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, Baroness Delyth Morgan, said:
“Today’s data starkly depicts the crisis surrounding the NHS Breast Screening Programme’s performance.
“Breast screening is a vital tool for detecting breast cancer early and this is crucial as the sooner it’s diagnosed the better the chance of treatment being successful. Furthermore, while record numbers were invited to routine breast screening in 2021/22, the frightening reality is that the proportion of women taking up their invite remains at an historic low for the second year running, meaning over one million women missed out on screening.
“Once an NHS success story, the Breast Screening Programme is now chronically underfunded and overstretched. Our incredible NHS staff continue to go above and beyond to provide the best standard of care for breast cancer patients, but women will continue to be denied the best chance of timely breast cancer diagnosis and treatment until the government shows it’s serious about fixing the screening programme. This means taking decisive action to remove barriers to screening, ring-fence investment, fill workforce gaps and bring the programme into the 21st century to guarantee women’s right to accessible, equitable and effective breast screening.
"The government can no longer sidestep its responsibility for fundamental failures in breast cancer screening performance in England. Women have the right to access breast screening that could save their lives from breast cancer. But increasingly, access is being undermined, with no proper acknowledgment or meaningful action from the government. It must take urgent action to recover standards, and set out a concrete plan to tackle the programme’s underlying issues and prepare breast screening for the future.”