Demand for return of breast screening in Fleetwood and Poulton

Campaigners are calling for the return of the mobile breast screening service to Fleetwood and Poulton as a matter of urgency.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 12:03 pm
Calls have been made for the mobile breast screening service to return to Fleetwood.

The North Lancashire & South Cumbria Breast Screening Service run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed they are unable to move the mobile vans from their current positions in Lytham, Blackpool and Lancaster.

It means women in Fleetwood and Wyre, a large number of whom don’t have access to cars, are having to travel miles for screening.

As a Facebook campaign by a Fleetwood resident gathered almost 1,700 members in just four days, calls for the service’s return have been made by Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, Fleetwood GP and public health lead Dr Mark Spencer and councillors in the town.

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Carol Dickinson set up a Facebook group calling for the return of the breast screening service to Fleetwood

Cat Smith said: “Given the poor public transport links, many women say they won’t be able to attend their appointment. The travel time is too lengthy, and they can’t be released from work or they can’t afford the travel costs.

“Here in Fleetwood there is below average car ownership and above average numbers of people on low incomes making it more likely that patients in Fleetwood and the wider area are less likely to be able to attend appointments outside of the town.”

The MP said residents in Over Wyre and Poulton would also be affected.

Fleetwood woman Carol Dickinson, 66, of Kemp Street, set up the Facebook group, Bring the Mobile Breast Screening unit to Fleetwood and Wyre, after she was told the mobile service would not be coming to the town.

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Carol said: “I needed to reschedule my screening and they told me it couldn’t come to Fleetwood any more because there was a technical issue with the car parking.

“I was really concerned about what this would mean for women who aren’t so mobile and who don’t have a car.

"Women must not miss their screenings, it is too important.

"The service is supposed to be mobile so there should be no reason why it can't come to Fleetwood."

Dr Mark Spencer of Mountview Surgery and Clinical Lead for the Fleetwood Primary Care Network said: “People are understandably concerned. In the meantime staff at Fleetwood’s GP surgeries are doing all they can to help find a solution and we encourage everyone to attend their appointments if they possibly can.”

Fleetwood councillor Lorraine Beavers said: “Many women have had their breast screening appointments cancelled due to Covid and are now concerned they are missing out on life saving diagnosis by not being able to attend Lytham or elsewhere.”

Leanne Coulson, interim head of Department for North Lancashire & South Cumbria Breast Screening Service said: “The health and wellbeing of all women in the Fleetwood and Poulton areas remains of upmost importance to our service.

“Many ladies from these areas have attended but we are fully aware of the transport difficulties faced by many others when being invited elsewhere for screening and the effect on attendance. At this current time, we are not able to move the vans to Fleetwood or Poulton, please be reassured we are looking at ways of moving the mobiles vans to both sites if possible.

"In the meantime, we have screening vans at Lytham Health Centre, Palatine Leisure Centre and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.”

To view Carol's Facebook page visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2215819151913831/