Women in Staffordshire have praised the efforts of the breast screening team from University Hospitals of North Midlands and the local authority for keeping a mobile breast screening unit in Biddulph.
The UHNM breast screening service has teamed up with Staffordshire Moorlands Council and Biddulph Fire station to ensure women in Staffordshire are able to attend their breast screening appointments without the need to commute across the city.
The screening service, which enables the prevention and early detection of breast cancer, will screen hundreds of women over the next three months.
The mobile unit is usually located at the leisure centre in Biddulph but due to on-going building work it means there is no space for the clinic on that site. The plan was to move the unit to Kidsgrove medical centre which is an established site and women attending the appointments would need to commute there for their screening.
However, thanks to the UHNM breast screening team working with Councillor Jill Salt, Staffordshire Moorlands Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue an alternate site has been arranged at the fire station in Biddulph.
Michelle Ellitts, UHNM Superintendent Radiographer, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to resume breast screening at Biddulph,. It is vitally important that we are able to take our screening unit out to communities to make it as easy as possible for our community to access their appointments. I would like to thank all our partners who have made it possible.
“We are looking forward to seeing the residents of Biddulph on our unit for their appointments, our all-female team will be glad to see you and answer any questions you might have.”
Women between 50 and 71 years who are registered with a GP are invited for a routine test every three years due to the likelihood of developing breast cancer increasing with age.
The mobile unit opened on Monday 6th November and welcomed patients for their screenings.
Lesley Brown, 66, from Biddulph, said: “Having the breast screening unit here is a fantastic resource for local people and I think it encourages more people to come and get their screening done, meaning people don’t have to travel too far. Having family members who have gone through breast cancer I am all for this kind of screening being available to us via the NHS.”
Ann Hawthorne, 68 from Biddulph, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant for the screening to be in Biddulph, for me I don’t like driving too far so it’s perfect for me to having this screening unit here on my doorstep.”
Councillor Jill Salt said: “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside our NHS, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Fire Service colleagues to ensure that the breast screening unit returns to Biddulph.
“The service will save lives and it will make it easier for Biddulph women to attend their screening appointments. The project demonstrates what can happen when people who know their communities network and work collaboratively to overcome barriers.
“It’s been a monumental team effort, and I am proud to have played a part. I’d encourage all eligible Biddulph women to take up their appointment.”
Helen Chadwick, Station Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, said: “The partnership between Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and North Midlands breast screening is a testament to the power of collaboration in promoting community wellbeing. It underlines the commitment of both organisations to the health and safety of Biddulph residents, and we look forward to the positive impact this collaboration will have on the community. This partnership extends our mission of safety and wellbeing to the realm of healthcare.
“Our combined efforts will help ensure that breast health is a priority for everyone, and ensure accessibility for all.” Clarke Wood, cabinet member for resources Staffordshire Moorlands Council, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with all partners in enabling this very important facility to come to Biddulph fire station to facilitate the breast screening unit.
Image via UHNM