Flexible screening clinics: future options
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KeywordsCancer Research Uptake Rate Survey Response Effective Clinic Strong Interest
To explore the desirability and practicality of establishing more flexible breast screening clinics. We canvassed NHSBSP units to establish whether more flexible scheduling was being undertaken, how, and with what success? We enquired about local aims and procedures.
We telephoned all breast screening units in the country. This indicated strong interest in the subject. Accordingly, we followed up with a questionnaire. Our survey response rate was 67%. We also researched the literature for data on the success of flexible screening.
Overall 58% of units were either currently employing more flexible procedures or they had previously done so. Relatively few such units were in inner-city areas. We found that clinics involved in flexible screening had uptake rates greater or equal to their normal clinics. Additionally, we examined the characteristics of more effective clinics.
Data suggest that flexible approaches are an important component in screening and could well influence overall compliance. Units generally applied such approaches because of slippage. However, we contend that flexible screening could be a useful tool for two reasons. First, to increase capacity (both clinic time and staffing) and, second, to form part of an agenda focusing on low uptake.