NI Breast Screening Programme Annual Report 2011 - 2012


This annual report and statistical bulletin describes key issues relating to the Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programme and its performance in 2011/12. It compares performance with previous years and with  data from the English NHS Breast Screening Programme.

The Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC) monitors, and quality assures, the Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programme to ensure women have access to a high quality service that meets agreed national standards.

69.9% of women in 2011/12 were offered an appointment for mammography screening within 36 months of their previous normal screen (standard >90%).  While the Southern and Western units were able to maintain their round lengths above the standard; the Northern and Eastern units were not. QARC worked closely with both of these units, and their round lengths were brought back up to the standard in 2012/13 and 2011/12 respectively.

As figure 36 shows there have been problems maintaining the round length in the past. A wide range of factors can affect it including staffing issues and closing a unit for refurbishment. QARC is working with units to ensure that they have robust round length plans in place to minimise the likelihood of falling below the standard. However, it is recognised that the replacement of all mammography equipment throughout Northern Ireland with new digital equipment , in 2013 and 2014, will adversely impact on the round length.

Overall these are very good statistics and show that the Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programme is providing a good quality service in keeping with national standards.