Cancer screening service lost

Cleckheaton Health Centre, Greenside.  (020544)
Cleckheaton Health Centre, Greenside. (020544)

NHS bosses have pulled the plug on a mobile service in Spen which checks for signs of cancer in women.

The breast screening service had been run by the NHS for more than 15 years in the car park behind Cleckheaton Health Centre in Greenside.

But it said that it would not be able to provide the service now, which screens women between 50 and 70 for breast cancer every three years, because the electric supply at the centre could no longer power its new digital equipment.

Instead, people will be asked to travel to either Dewsbury and District Hospital or St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford to get tested.

Helen Barker, chief operating officer for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I can confirm that we are currently unable to provide breast screening services from Cleckheaton Health Centre due to the need to upgrade the existing electrical supply which is required for the new digital mammography units.

“We recognise the need to provide a local service to the women of Cleckheaton and are attempting to resolve this matter with NHS Property Services who own Cleckheaton Health Centre.”

The screening uses mammography tests to take special X-ray pictures of breasts and check for signs of the disease.

Robert Harter, of Hillcrest Mount, Scholes, has taken his wife, Audrey, to the mobile service every three years since the 1990s.

Mr Harter, 72, said: “My wife started going when she was 50 and the last time we went in 2012 they found a mass on her breast and it gave us a scare but turned out to be nothing.

“We went again this year because we wanted to make sure but they told us that the mobile unit had stopped coming to Cleckheaton.”

Mr Harter said he contacted the NHS, who offered his wife a screening appointment at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford.

He said: “They said we could go to St Luke’s but it’s just too far for us to go, so they rearranged for us to go to Dewsbury Hospital in February.

“I think it’s ridiculous because some people just won’t go all that way.

“It’s not just about us, it’s important for every family in the Spenborough area.”

The trust said it was looking for an alternative site to run the mobile service.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Invitations for breast screening are currently being offered at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford or the Pennine Breast Screening Service’s mobile unit at Dewsbury District Hospital

“We are keen to continue to support the provision of breast screening services in the local community and are working in partnership with the Trust to agree a solution for the service to be delivered in the Cleckheaton area

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”