Call to incentivise breast cancer screens in London

An incentive scheme should be set up to encourage GPs in London to promote breast cancer screening, a report has said.

The report by the London Assembly revealed that London has the lowest breast cancer screening rates in the country at 62 per cent. This is 13 per cent below the national average.

It found large disparities in screening uptake across London boroughs. Havering and Bexley had the highest uptake at 78.2 per cent, while Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Tower Hamlets all had the lowest rate at 50.1 per cent.

The report recommends that NHS London sponsors an incentive scheme to encourage GPs to promote the screening programme using an electronic flagging and letter system.

It also called for a three-year media campaign on breast screening and a call and recall service to offer appointments outside working hours.

Maggie Alexander, director of policy and campaigns at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: 'GPs can play a vital role in promoting screening to all women over 50 and, together with the recommendation of a London-wide recall system, could make a real difference to whether or not women attend.'

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Behind the Screen: London Assembly report 2008

London Screening

  • London has lowest breast cancer screening rates in the country at 62 per cent.
  • Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea screens 50.1 per cent of women.
  • National rate is 75 per cent.

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