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BreastCheck screening recommences nationwide

BreastCheck has resumed screening after a seven-month pause in services and is urging women who are called for an appointment to come forward. The BreastCheck programme, on hold since 16 March, recommenced breast screening nationwide on 27 October, the HSE has confirmed. Last month, the Medical Independent (MI) revealed it would take three years for the programme to “catch up” on screens and assessments missed following the pause. The service will operate at a maximum of 50 per cent of its pre-pandemic workload, up to at least the end of February 2021.  A HSE spokesperson told MI: “We have restarted by inviting those who have waited longest for screening. Invitation letters are being sent first to those who had their appointments cancelled in March, followed by invitations for routine screening.”

“We are asking all participants, including new entrants, to check their details on the register as a new text management system is in place to maximise appointment uptake.” The spokesperson said during the pause in screening, BreastCheck redeployed services to assist acute hospitals in managing waiting lists of women with symptoms. Dublin GP Dr Ray Walley called for greater communication between hospitals and general practice on the impact of Covid-19 on breast cancer services. “We need to know more information about services in order to guide our patients. There is currently a void of information.”

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