A FUNDAMENTAL review has been announced of Scotland’s breast screening programme. It will examine the current programme, the pressures it faces and future options for delivery.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said the Scottish Breast Screening Programme “needs to adapt to meet current demand”.

Women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years, while those over 70 can refer themselves.

NHS Scotland’s National Services Division will carry out the review, which is expected to take about a year. It will also look at technological advances and ways to increase take-up and tackle health inequalities.

FitzPatrick said: “Breast screening saves lives and we want our programme to be as effective as possible. The Scottish Breast Screening Programme needs to adapt to meet current demand.

“The number of women eligible for screening is growing – some 800,000 women were eligible over the 2018-21 period – and the programme needs to be able to keep pace with the increasing population and changes in technology and lifestyles.”

He added: “I also know

the programme can be complex to administer with mobile screening units working

around the country. We need to look at ways to free up workforce pressure and develop solutions to encourage participation and tackle health inequalities.

“This is why we have approved a review which will look at everything from invitation processes, technology and future requirements which will ensure that breast screening continues to support early diagnosis of breast cancer.”

NHS National Services Scotland director Jim Miller said the programme is “extremely successful”, adding: “Significant changes have been made since the programme began in 1988 and this review will allow us to make recommendations for continued improvements.”