About this Webinar
Digital solutions for the impact of COVID on the UK Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP)
Research seminar by Katy Szczepura and Claire Mercer, University of Salford
In April 2020, screening services were paused for 3 months due to the COVID crisis, and this has led to a back-log of around 1.4 million clients waiting for screening, tests and treatments; impossible for the already overstretched service to now accommodate. For every week of breast screening that is paused 7,000 clients are not being referred for further tests, leading to around 380 cancers not being diagnosed.
An increase in workforce is essential to continue providing breast screening services and enable them to adapt quickly to service demands. However increased training duties and responsibilities can give additional burden to this already stressed workforce. New ways of working, training and educating the workforce need to be established to ensure the NHSBSP is able to provide an equitable and appropriate level of service throughout the UK during the pandemic and beyond.
There has been an unknown impact on clients, and the effect that missing a screening round has had on their perception of the value of the service, the likelihood of removing themselves from the service, and the impact this will have on survival from future cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Work is currently being undertaken to survey the current workforce, focussing on their well being, current digital status and potential areas for improvements to optimise the system. Additionally we are evaluating the international integration of a novel digital performance tool to evidence how it can be integrated for staff development and performance improvement, leading to improved outcomes for clients and patients.
Areas within the scope of our work are technical, equipment and staff performance and staff development, as well training and education. Although we are aware of digital solutions in these areas, traditionally a top down approach to the introduction of digital solutions can causes issues with engagement, staff uptake, training and technical integration. We aim, through this work to provide an evidence base to support staff to work effectively using currently available digital solutions, and develop a framework to support the service, which ultimately provides a cost effective, high quality service for the clients and patients in the breast imaging services within the UK and beyond.
Dr Katy Sczcepura
Katy joined The University of Salford in 2007. Prior to coming to Salford she was a Research Medical Physicist at The University of Cambridge, where she worked within the Nuclear Medicine Department. Before moving into research, Katy worked in the NHS as a Medical Physicist, training within Diagnostic Radiography, Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy. She also spent 2 years working as a Medical Technical Officer, working in Radiation Protection for both the medical and security industries. Katy is an associate editor for the British Journal of Radiography, and a member of the University of Salford Ethics Committee.
Dr Clare Mercer
Claire joined the University of Salford in 2015 and is now the Head of Radiography with external roles including membership of the organising committee for the Symposium Mammographicum Conference together with several external advisory roles. Claire qualified as a Radiographer in 1995 progressing into Mammography (2000), Advanced Practice (2002) and breast centre programme management (2003), with a MSc with distinction in Advanced Medical Imaging (2011) and a PhD (2015) centred around breast compression. Claire has focused research outcomes within breast imaging, focusing on the practical issues faced in the clinical environment, such as compression force variability and the standardisation of positioning technique.