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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > North Cumbria's hospitals introduce breast screening digitisation

North Cumbria's hospitals introduce breast screening digitisation

Posted on Wednesday 18th November 2015

The breast screening team at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle

Women attending breast screening appointments in North Cumbria are now benefiting from an improved level of care, following the digitisation of the service.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has successfully completed the digitisation of the breast screening service for patients at both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

Digitisation has brought the installation of digital mammography equipment and refurbished facilities to improve the breast screening service in a number of ways. The quality of the images is much sharper than on x-ray film, enabling any signs of cancer to be detected more easily. It has also speeded up the process, as the images no longer have to be processed and are available on the computer screen instantly.

Alongside the digitisation of the service, the departments at both hospital sites have been refurbished to improve the patient environment and waiting rooms. The improvement programme across the two hospital sites has cost in the region of £1 million.

Richard Sterry, Assistant Operational Services Manager for Clinical Support at the Trust, said: “This project has really improved the facilities and diagnostic radiology equipment available within the breast imaging service. We are committing to investing in providing high quality patient care and this improvement to the diagnostic and cancer screening provision has enhanced patient experience.”

Dr Jon Berry, Consultant Radiologist and Clinical Director, added: “We are very excited about going digital and the improved patient care we are now able to give. The images now used in the screening process are so much clearer and easier to read – this change really will improve patient outcomes.”

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust provides the breast screening service on behalf of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Nidhi Sibal, Breast Screening Programme Director from the Newcastle Hospitals, said: “With Cumbria becoming digital, we look forward to implementing several new clinical techniques. These include tomosynthesis, tomosynthesis guided breast biopsy and large volume biopsies in the breast. This will also enable us to enroll Cumbria in the National Age Extension Trial.”

The NHS Breast Screening Programme provides free breast screening every three years for all women aged 50 and over. The programme is currently being extended to all women aged 47 to 73. Screening is an important way to detect cancer early and around a third of breast cancers are now diagnosed through screening.

Dr Berry added: “I would strongly encourage anyone invited to come along for breast screening to take up the offer. Women should also continue to check themselves for any signs of breast cancer and go and see their GP immediately if they think they are showing any symptoms.”

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