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Friday, July 3, 1998 Published at 05:24 GMT 06:24 UK


Cash shortage threat to breast screening

Many radiologists say they are considering leaving the job

A lack of funding and inadequate staffing levels are threatening the work of breast cancer screening units across the country, according to a new survey.

Yigal Chazan on cancer screening crisis
The Royal College of Radiologists, which carried out the research, found more than half the units said funding was insufficient to meet quality standards.

Of the 108 breast screening units in Britain, 78 took part in the survey and the college says the findings are worrying, particularly since screening for cancer is so high on the government's agenda for health care.

Funding shortages and staffing problems are placing radiologists under extreme pressure.

  • 90% said they were facing a severe increase in work, and 80% said they feared standards would drop as a result.

  • 40% said they were considering giving up their jobs.

    At present, women between 50 and 64 are screened every three years, but radiologists are under additional pressure because more and more women are using the service.

    Health Minister Baroness Jay responds to criticism
    The first of the baby-boom generation are reaching 50 and women over 64 are being encouraged to have mammograms.

    The survey says delays in screening are now commonplace and medical experts believe this could pose a significant risk to women's health.

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