A new report by Breast Cancer Now has highlighted the shortage of mammographers as a major barrier to meeting demand of screening programmes.
The report ‘Good enough? Breast cancer in the UK’ gives a holistic view of the progress that has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer across the UK.
It calls on the government to lay out a clear and sustainable workforce plan to address the shortfall in diagnostic capacity.
The report states: “Current vacancy rates for radiographic practitioners in England are 15%. This is likely to have a significant impact on the ability of the screening programmes to meet current demand and to introduce any new technologies and ways of working.
“Governments and the NHS across the UK should address the crisis in the diagnostic workforce by setting out a long-term vision to ensure the cancer workforce is sustainable and able to meet projected increasing demand for services over the next decade.”
The report also features a case study from a mammographer called April, who recently left the Breast Screening Programme due to the pressures of the job.
Amy says: “There is undoubtedly a staffing crisis in mammography. One barrier lies in the difficulty in getting into the mammography profession - you first have to train three years to become a radiographer, and then another year to become a mammographer.
“The cost of living has also increased over the past ten years, while mammographer and radiographer wages have stayed the same and workload has increased hugely.
“There is only so much harder people can work for such little gain.
“This has to change.”