Health secretary opens pioneering breast screening clinic

17 January 2019

A state-of-the-art breast screening clinic was officially opened at Finchley Memorial Hospital (FMH) today by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.

The clinic is home to the Hologic 3D imaging system, which is the most technologically-advanced mammography scanner available.

Mr Hancock was shown the clinic and the 3D scanner by Sir David Sloman, group chief executive of the Royal Free London (RFL) which runs the service, Dr William Teh, screening director for the RFL, and Kathy Murphy, deputy superintendent radiographer.

The clinic, which was previously situated in a mobile unit within the grounds of FMH, moved to its new location within the hospital in August 2018.

Locating the service within a permanent building means the RFL can offer better appointment flexibility, reliable transport connections and safety. Because the units can be expensive to maintain or replace, in the long term, a permanent site is more cost effective.

The North London Breast Screening Service, which is run by the RFL, offers appointments to women between the ages of 50-70 in Barnet, Brent, Enfield, Haringey and Harrow and parts of Hertfordshire.

The clinic is staffed by two mammographers at any given time, which means up to 44 women can be seen per day and, at full capacity, the service can see more than 11,000 patients annually.

The service moved in August 2018 in collaboration with Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group, which led a project to improve services and facilities at FMH, and Community Health Partnerships, which is responsible for the management of the hospital.

Sir David said: “We were delighted to have the Secretary of State officially open this clinic at Finchley Memorial Hospital. Using the latest technology to deliver the very best care to our patients is a key priority for the trust. We are, therefore, incredibly proud that this clinic is home to the latest 3D scanning machine and we were pleased to explain to the Secretary of State the benefits this new clinic offers to women using the service.”

Mr Hancock added: “I am hugely impressed by how the new breast screening clinic in Finchley is designed around the patient to make their experience as comfortable and convenient as possible.

“As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, backed by an extra £20.5 billion a year by 2023/24, 55,000 more people will survive cancer through earlier detection and better treatment.

“Screening will play a vital role in achieving this and Finchley is an example of best practice that I want to see adopted across the country.”             

Picture caption (l-r): Sir David Sloman, group chief executive, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Mike Freer MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Tracy Mbeki, radiographer, Denise D'Allesio, radiographer, Dr William Teh, director of screening at the Royal Free London, Kathy Murphy, deputy superintendent radiographer.