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Still time to have your say on revised NHS breast screening standards

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A man with glasses holds a chart which shows overall progress.
The consultation on the NHS breast screening standards closes at midnight on Thursday 5 November 2020.

Nothing stands still in NHS screening for very long — which is why so much work goes into making sure standards remain fit for purpose by regularly reviewing them and looking at what the data is telling us.

Each NHS screening programme has a set of standards which provide:

  • information about quality
  • data at local, regional and national level
  • a consistent approach

To make sure these standards are doing their job they are reviewed every 3 years using a national framework which provides a clear, consistent and auditable approach.

We’re pleased to say that the NHS breast screening standards have now been reviewed by a group with representation from providers, screening quality assurance service (SQAS), NHS England and the national NHS breast screening programme screening team.

We’re now calling on screening professionals to comment on the revised NHS breast screening standards. The consultation closes at midnight on Thursday 5 November 2020.

The online survey is the last stage in the review process and we’ll consider all suggestions.

Changes so far

Each standard was considered to decide if it:

  • was measuring an important part of the pathway
  • would drive improvements in services
  • was measurable and correctly defined

Following lots of discussion we made quite a few changes, including removing the standards relating to:

  • mean glandular dose (MGD) per view for a standard breast in clinical settings
  • threshold gold thickness measured using the CDMAM test object

We are also proposing new standards for:

  • invitation for screening
  • positive predictive value of referral, which measures the proportion of women referred for further tests following mammography who test positive for breast cancer

The performance thresholds for many of the standards have been revised based on data from the past few years. We have also tried to make the language we use in the document clearer and easier to understand.

So please do have your say.

PHE Screening blog

The PHE Screening blog provides up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.

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