When do women really want to attend screening?
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KeywordsCancer Research National Health Young Woman Screening Programme Postal Questionnaire
By 2004 the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) is expected to deliver 40% more work by expanding to the age of 70 and two views. Additionally the NHS Plan charges the NHS with delivering improved access to all services but most particularly Primary Care. We aimed to investigate women's preferences regarding day and time of both screening and contacting the screening office. A self completed postal questionnaire was sent to a random 50% sample of women attending for breast screening between April and June 2001. Eight hundred and thirteen of the 1,396 questionnaires were returned, giving a response rate of 58%. Of these returns approximately half expressed a preference in day to be screened, but Saturday was the least popular option. Of the under 64s, 54% would prefer to be screened before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., compared with only 12% of women over 64 years. Seventy-eight per cent of women wanted to contact the screening office by phone and 49% between 8 a.m. and 12 noon. Extending hours of access sounds politically attractive and improves utilisation of expensive capital equipment. There is little enthusiasm among women attending screening, particularly in the over 64s. However, for a small but significant number of younger women access outside their working hours is preferable.