Comments from radiologists
- JA Fielding1
© Current Science Ltd 2000
Published: 1 October 2000
Above all, quality standards must be maintained. This is a view upheld by the CMO's Committee looking at skill mix in the NHSBSP. How are these standards to be maintained and our targets achieved, against a background of possible Government intention to expand the target population, by increasing the screening age limit up to 70 years and a yearly population increase?
The situation in the UKBSP was crystallised by a survey sent to the 95 Breast Screening Units. Seventy-eight were completed and returned (82%).
These are some of the most significant results: (1) average UK round length: 73% screened within 36 months (minimum NHSBSP standard, 90%); (2) double reading: 68%; (3) unfilled sessions: 81 from 78 units; (4) unfunded, but worked sessions: on average, one session per week per unit; and (5) average reporting rate: 115 films per hour (ie 57.5 women with single views).
Radiologists are performing a sterling task given the present set-up. However, the conclusion was reached that, due to lack of resources and personnel, there is suboptimal delivery of the UK breast screening programme, according to current ideals. Radiologists' comments both for and against the new tiered workforce structure are discussed. Alternative solutions are in short supply.