Improving access to care through the Scottish Breast Screening Programme

16-Feb-2022

Philips plays an instrumental role in expanding access to breast screening in Scotland, helping to prevent 130 deaths a year

A partnership between Philips UK and Ireland and NHS National Services Scotland to deliver the Scottish Breast Screening Programme (SBSP) has become a world-leading model.

Breast cancer is the most-common cancer in women and, according to NHS Scotland, nearly 1,000 women a year die from the disease in Scotland.

Through the partnership, as many as 270,000 women in Scotland between the ages of 50-70 are invited for screening each year, leading to the prevention of approximately 130 deaths.

With a 19% reduction in those diagnosed at the early stages of breast cancer during the height of the pandemic, down 35% at stage 1, and 15% at stage 2 according to Public Health Scotland (PHS), the SBSP will help Scotland address its backlog by diagnosing cancer earlier.

The SBSP consists of six static screening centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire, Dundee, Aberdeen, and Inverness and 19 mobile units across the country.

Approximately 1.15 million people, or a fifth of Scotland’s population, are based in rural areas, potentially living several hours from one of the centres.

SBSP’s mobile vans enable easier and more-affordable access to screening services for those living in rural areas, who often incur higher transport and living costs, particularly when traveling to a major metropolitan hospital.

Instead, patients can visit any mobile van location and have their images securely transferred back to one of the nation’s six screening centres for analysis.

The Scottish Breast Screening Programme has revolutionised breast cancer care in Scotland, ensuring that no matter where patients live, they have a better chance of receiving an early diagnosis and timely treatment

The reporting mechanism between SBSP centres means there is also the ability for them to provide support to each other in the case of staff shortages.

Dr Gerald Lip, clinical director of NE Scotland Breast Screening Service for NHS Grampian, said: “The national reporting function enabled by the Global PACS solution allows centres to report and support each other.

“For instance, in the case of a staffing issue due to absences from sickness among readers, cases for reporting can rapidly pile up.

“The use of this function allows readers from across Scotland to provide mutual aid and assistance in ensuring all centres are at a similar level in reporting.”

Jason Barron, Philips enterprise diagnostic informatics manager, added: “The Scottish Breast Screening Programme has revolutionised breast cancer care in Scotland, ensuring that no matter where patients live, they have a better chance of receiving an early diagnosis and timely treatment.

“Philips is proud to be working with the team at NHS Scotland to continually improve the technology, scope, and scale of the programme.”

To support the service Philips’ Vue PACS V12.2 – a digital picture archiving and communication system – has been installed across the network to provide national access to breast imaging via a Global Worklist, alongside Symptomatic Services and the national PACS solution.

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And with Philips’ support, NHS National Services Scotland and the SBSP has created a globally-recognised imaging database that has led to improved screening analysis, workflow efficiencies, and, ultimately, delivered better patient outcomes.

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