Mary Thorpe of Greenhill Close, Tenbury Wells says use or lose breast screening service (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Mary Thorpe of Greenhill Close, Tenbury Wells says use or lose breast screening service
8:00am Thursday 26th April 2012 in Letters
Use or lose vital screening service WITH reference to the breast screening story (Tenbury Wells Advertiser, April 12) I would like to make the following observations.
As the result of a casual enquiry of the breast screening unit at Kidderminster Hospital in August 2011, I was told that the mobile unit would not be coming to Tenbury again. On further enquiry with our GP practice, they had no information, therefore there had been no public consultation which is a legal requirement before a service is withdrawn.
I took my concerns to Tenbury Community Hospital League of Friends and chairman Rev Preb Stephen Thomas and I as secretary, with the backing of the committee, took up this matter.
Between us we have attended various meetings.
We accepted an offer by Malvern Hills District Council leader Cllr Philip Grove and Cllr Jane Marriott (former matron of Evesham Community Hospital and vice chair of the Community Hospitals Association Committee) to take up our case with the NHS.
Following a meeting at Tenbury Hospital in December with the councillors, matron and an NHS official, and with the help of our GP practice, written representation was made setting out all the reasons against the withdrawal.
This has obviously contributed to the successful outcome, but we await confirmation in writing.
I am sure all eligible women would agree with Cllr Ken Pollock and prefer to go to a static unit once every three years for a more accurate result, but not many have the luxury of their own transport, and with public transport at a premium from Tenbury, how would they get there, especially those who are working and grandparents who look after their grandchildren while their parents work?
Tenbury women were offered the alternative of the static unit at Kidderminster or a mobile unit at Leominster, so it would not have been a better service than we have had in the past. We understand that the mobile units will be upgraded in due course, so surely the existing screening is better than the alternative of no screening at all.
I for one am very grateful to the mobile screening under which, in 2002, I was diagnosed with early cancer, as other women have been over the years since the unit has been coming to Tenbury.
The unit is due at Tenbury next year and I would urge all those invited to come along. We understand 2013 will be different because those between the ages of 47 and 73 who are registered with the Tenbury GP practice will be eligible for screening at Tenbury Hospital, regardless of whether they live in Shropshire, Herefordshire or Worcestershire.
If you do not receive an invitation when the unit is at Tenbury Hospital, please call the number on the outside of the van and ask for an appointment. This also applies to women over the age of 73 who can still ask for screening and many of us do this.
On behalf of Tenbury women, our grateful thanks to the League of Friends, our GP practice, matron, all councillors, Tenbury Area Partnership and everyone who has fought hard over the past eight months to get the Tenbury breast screening unit reinstated.
Tenbury women, please use the screening in 2013 or we shall lose it.
MARY THORPE, GREENHILL CLOSE, TENBURY WELLS