Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today criticised the Scottish Government for allowing the breast screening uptake rate to take a “downward slide”, as new official figures confirmed uptake has been consistently falling on the SNP’s watch.
The Scottish Government minimal uptake target is 70%, set in 2011, was not met in 4 health boards: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (65.8%), NHS Lanarkshire (68%), NHS Lothian (69.2%) and NHS Fife (69.7%).
The figures also reveal that women from more deprived areas are less likely to attend for breast screening, with under 6 in 10 women from the most deprived areas going for screening compared with almost 8 in 10 women living in the least deprived areas.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“We know that early diagnosis of breast cancer can make all the difference to successful treatment, so it’s extremely bad news to see uptake on a prolonged downward slide.
“It’s clear the Scottish Government needs to do more to reverse this worrying trend and encourage people to take the time out of busy days to get to the doctor and take up these tests.
“The Health Secretary must ensure that the recent updates to the screening programme are effective in boosting attendance and addressing the stubborn health inequalities which are persisting.”