Breast Service Public Consultation Supports Service Move

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Breast assessment and symptomatic clinics relocate from Warrington Hospital’s Kendrick Wing to new Breast Centre at the Captain Sir Tom Moore Building at Halton Hospital

The public consultation outcomes on the reconfiguration of breast services in Warrington and Halton has been published with over two thirds of respondents supporting the proposal to relocate the breast assessment and symptomatic services.

Patient numbers accessing breast services at Kendrick Wing had almost doubled in the last 20 years and the century-old estate gave no obvious opportunity for expansion.  There were also multiple estate issues relating to access as the service was on the first floor and a very old elevator was frequently out of service and difficult to repair.

A clinician-led multi-disciplinary team explored all possible options for the service and elected to relocate the assessment and symptomatic clinics to a new, bespoke breast centre at the Captain Sir Tom Moore building at Halton Hospital.  As this was a service change informal and formal engagement and consultation exercises were carried out in partnership with commissioners during the first half of this year.

In addition to the capacity and estate issues, there were also other more compelling reasons to relocate, not least the national shortage of Breast Radiologists and Mammographers.  The service is now able to consolidate scarce specialist resources and equipment onto a single site in a bespoke facility.   This naturally presents a considerably more attractive employment offer for scarce clinicians specialising in breast services.  Addressing these issues subsequently leads to a significantly enhanced patient experience.

The Breast Centre will carry out routine breast screening for women who choose this venue for their mammogram and provide diagnostics and support to patients that have been referred following anomalies on routine breast screening (assessment clinic) and patients referred directly by GPs having found breast changes/lumps (symptomatic clinic).  It is located on the ground floor, adjacent to the existing MRI/CT service which may be required for patients with a cancer diagnosis. It is also below the existing surgical ward which now carries out a range of cancer surgeries in addition to its traditional orthopaedic operations.

Breast screening services remain unchanged and continue as normal at Warrington’s Kendrick Wing, Bath St Warrington, St Helen’s Burney Breast Unit, Whiston Hospital and in mobile units as well as at Halton Hospital Breast Centre (relocated from the Delamere Centre on the same site).   

Key concerns raised by the widely represented population responding to the consultation related to transport and travel costs, accessibility, patient choice and treatment and care – all of which have been addressed by the service.  To continue to ensure that patients are experiencing the best possible experience the service will conduct enhanced patient feedback monitoring throughout the first year and make any reasonable further adjustments.

Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Lucy Gardner said: 

“We are extremely grateful to the people of Halton, Knowsley, St Helen’s and Warrington who took the time to participate in the engagement and consultation processes.  Their input and comments were invaluable in helping us to design the service and address key concerns such as accessibility and transport.

“We now look forward to formally opening the new centre, alongside our service users, at the end of September - this couldn’t be more timely as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  We are now assured that patients will have the best possible experience if they do need us.”

Consultation highlights:

  • 404 responses to informal engagement and formal consultation opportunities in the first half of this year 
  • Diverse range of respondents, with disabilities strongly represented and good engagement from men
  • 268 responses from Warrington service users – this group would be most impacted by the service change
  • 63% of all respondents said they would be either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ to access Breast Assessment and Symptomatic rapid access clinics at the Captain Sir Tom Moore building at Halton Hospital
  • Engagement and consultation took place using a variety of on-line and face to face survey methods supported by information booklets, drop-in sessions in clinic and a number of on line meetings
  • Formal public consultation took place in partnership between NHS Halton and NHS Warrington CCGs and Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals between 28 May and 8 July.
  • Respondents ranked their priorities for the service (1 is highest priority)

1.    waiting times to access the service
2.    the outcome of their diagnostics
3.    the experience of staff
4.    the location of the service
5.    environment and facilities
6.    car parking

The comprehensive Breast Reconfiguration Consultation Outcomes report is available here