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Breast Cancer: Screening

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the (a) current and (b) planned capacity in each of the next five years is for the number of breast screenings in each primary care trust; and if he will make a statement; (252381)

(2) what steps his Department has taken in preparation for the planned extension of breast screening; and if he will make a statement.

Information on current and planned capacity for breast screening in each primary care trust (PCT) is not collected centrally. It is for PCTs, in partnership with strategic health authorities, local services and other local stakeholders, to determine how best to use their funds to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations. PCTs are required to provide breast screening services for their eligible populations. They are responsible for ensuring that breast screening services are delivered to national standards.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is a huge success, saving an estimated 1,400 lives each year. It is now screening more women and detecting more cancers than ever before. In 2007-08, 1.71 million women were screened and 14,110 cancers were detected.

We are extending routine breast screening to women between the ages of 47 and 73 years, with a guarantee that women will have their first screening before the age of 50. As a result, over 400,000 more women will be screened each year. This extension is being managed by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes in partnership with local health services and will be piloted in six sites from January 2009. The pilots will meet strict quality and performance criteria and will act as a learning platform to enable remaining services to model their rollout plans. Full implementation of the breast screening extension across England is due by the end of 2012.