Our response to the new Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s commitments today to workforce, technology and prevention.

Friday 20 July 2018      Campaigns and policy
women having breast screening mammogram

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock today outlined his commitments to workforce, technology and prevention, in his first speech as Health Secretary.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

It’s welcome news that the Secretary of State has today prioritised workforce, technology and prevention, and we hope his commitments will drive real and sustainable improvements in breast cancer. 

With less than a fifth of breast screening units adequately resourced, and a third of breast radiology staff set to retire by 2025, the breast cancer imaging and diagnostic workforce is in the grip of a crisis. We hope this new prioritisation of NHS workforce will translate into a steadfast commitment to recruiting the 200 mammographers and 50 breast radiologists needed to sustain the breast diagnostic services. 

There is a huge opportunity for the use of Artificial Intelligence to support and transform mammography services, and we hope the Secretary of State’s commitments to NHS technology will include exploring how AI could reduce pressures on the breast screening workforce.

There is an urgent need to raise awareness and empower women to take steps to reduce their individual risk of developing breast cancer. Today’s commitment presents the opportunity to explore personalisation of the current breast screening service, to take into account a wider range of risk factors. This has the potential to prevent more than 12,000 cases of this devastating disease each year.”