How long to wait: improving breast cancer screening


Medway NHS Foundation Trust implemented a quality improvement initiative to support early treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer, leading to higher standards of care for patients.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust breast screening: how long to wait PDF, 917.5 KB

Improvements made to the breast screening pathway by Medway NHS Foundations Trust.

About the initiative

Medway breast screening covers a population of 110,000 women in the age range of 47 to 73 years.  

The ‘how long to wait’ initiative was put into place to help make quality improvements to their breast cancer screening service, they did this by:

  • designing a patient waiting time proforma, which set out standards for a reasonable waiting time
  • all working to one common goal

The team also recorded comments about the cause of delays throughout the breast screening process, and undertook statistical analysis of data to make improvements and streamline the process. 


Actions taken as a result of the project: 

  • the use of a new ultrasound, faxitron machine and reading room
  • staff with mixed skills and more training opportunities
  • dedicated robust rota
  • ensuring all complaints are reviewed, improving communication
  • new defined processes to flag and prevent breaches
  • reducing patient’s visits by doing same day procedure and giving allocated slots
  • daily team meetings, monthly statistic reviews
  • quarterly quality review
  • all working cohesively as a team to implement changes

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