New vital state-of-the-art breast screen unit opens on Ards Hospital site in a partnership between the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

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A new state-of-the-art breast screening facility has opened on the Ards Hospital site, as a result of a successful a partnership between the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

This permanent facility replaces the mobile screening unit previously located beside Old Mill Surgery and offers a significant enhancement in breast screening services and accessibility for patients.

The Breast Screening Unit, commissioned and constructed by the South Eastern Trust, will be operated and staffed by skilled Radiology professionals from the Belfast Trust. The partnership between these two Trusts ensures that patients receive the highest standard of care with the latest in breast screening technology. The unit will screen approximately 50 women a day, five days a week, significantly improving access to vital breast screening services.

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This new facility has a modern and spacious design with a dedicated waiting area and examination rooms equipped with advanced breast screening technology.. The technology has been future-proofed to allow for expansion in the future with the design of the building providing enhanced accessibility making access easier for disabled patients.

(L-R) Aodhain McFall (mammographer), Noelle Clerkin (breast imaging service manager), Paula Kennedy (mammographer and promoting informed choice lead), Judith Morrow (mammographer) on the Ards Hospital site(L-R) Aodhain McFall (mammographer), Noelle Clerkin (breast imaging service manager), Paula Kennedy (mammographer and promoting informed choice lead), Judith Morrow (mammographer) on the Ards Hospital site
(L-R) Aodhain McFall (mammographer), Noelle Clerkin (breast imaging service manager), Paula Kennedy (mammographer and promoting informed choice lead), Judith Morrow (mammographer) on the Ards Hospital site

Patients can now receive breast screening closer to home, eliminating the need to travel to Belfast for these critical services.

A statement said that the collaboration between the South Eastern and Belfast Health & Social Care Trusts “highlights a commitment to enhancing healthcare infrastructure” and improving early detection of breast cancer, which is crucial for effective treatment and overall patient outcomes.

Bangor breast screening patient, Julie Lemon commented on the new unit and said: “Attending the new unit was so handy, I didn’t need to travel into Belfast. It is such a lovely unit, so bright and airy which really makes a difference, it is far nicer than the mobile unit. Coming for a breast screening appointment can be an anxious time, the environment in the new unit made me feel at ease, it was like a breath of fresh air that will really make a difference for women.”

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Breast imaging service manager, Noelle Clerkin added: “We are proud to open this new, permanent facility, which represents a major advancement in our ability to provide high-quality breast screening services to the local community. The new unit will provide a more relaxed and comfortable environment for those women attending at what can be an anxious time for them.

“Accessibility to our service is so important, making sure that patients who are invited to breast screening attend. This new unit will allow those to attend a local service without having to travel a great distance.

“We are very lucky to work with the South Eastern Trust Breast Service and to provide a screening service for local women.”

Mammographer and promoting informed choice lead, Paula Kennedy stated: “The equipment within the unit is brand new and it has all been digitalised to allow for future-proofing. The unit now has better facilities for the staff with the addition of a kitchen and toilet.

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“Our aim is to keep breast screening services local and make sure that everyone has access to the service. Breast screening is all about saving lives, we want to be able to detect breast cancer at an early stage. Early detection is the best protection.”

The breast screening service will be holding an information stand in Tesco Springhill in Bangor on Thursday, July 25 from 1.00pm to 4.00pm to chat to local women about the breast screening programme and to find out more about the new breast screening Unit at Ards Hospital in Newtownards.

If you are aged between 50 and 70 and are registered with a GP, you will be invited to attend for breast screening every three years.

If you are aged over 70, all you need to do is phone your local breast screening unit to make an appointment every three years.

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