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Published: 28 June 2024

Latest news update from the National Screening Service – 28 June 2024

Welcome to our latest news summary featuring updates from across the National Screening Service (NSS). To keep up to date with all of our news, including upcoming events and job opportunities, read our blogs, follow us on X @NSShse, and on LinkedIn.

“If you want to bring about change, you need to be part of the process”

Will Kennedy has shared his perspectives on being part of our Patient and Public Partnership (PPP) in his recent blog.

Will has been a PPP representative since 2000 and said that joining the PPP network “is one of the best ways of bringing about improvements and change in screening programmes”.

Will explains the main reason he joined was because we were developing an equity framework: “As a queer man I felt I could represent people like me. I would have an opportunity to voice the concerns of my community and help to make the service more equitable and equal.”

“I worked with the NSS equity advisory group and we provided support and advice for developing the framework. I felt my involvement helped the NSS to better understand the concerns, and the barriers, that people like me faced when engaging with screening services. Our voices were listened to in every step of the planning process. I feel that my involvement and others on the committee helped to bring about change in the service.

Thanks to Will for sharing his experience and being part of the ongoing development of our screening services.

Reflecting on the development of breast screening in Ireland

Professor Fidelma Flanagan recently retired from her role as National Clinical Advisor of BreastCheck. She had been with the national breast screening programme since it was piloted in 1997.

Breast screening had been offered in Great Britain and Northern Ireland for 10 years before the pilot in Ireland, and Prof Flanagan says bringing the service to Ireland was not easy. “We had a belief that breast screening should happen in this country, and we made it so,” she says. She recounts her 25 years working in screening in her recent blog.

“My first day as Clinical Director of the Eccles unit was quite daunting. We had no premises, staff, or equipment, but bit by bit we built it. The Irish diaspora responded and many consultants and staff - both clinical and management - came from far and wide. Indeed, they continue to come,” she says, acknowledging the fact that the programme continues to attract staff from overseas today.

Over 2.5 million BreastCheck mammograms have been performed during Prof Flanagan’s time with the service, and over 16,000 cancers detected. Prof Flanagan is hopeful about what breast screening will offer women in the future. “I can’t believe how far we have come in 25 years, the next 25 will be even better.”

Answering your questions about screening

Our blogs provide information on our latest news updates and highlight the stories of our screening participants and the healthcare professionals who are part of our screening programmes. We also publish blogs answering some of the questions that people have about screening.

We recently published a blog on Diabetic RetinaScreen that covers questions about diabetic retinopathy, why diabetic eye screening is important and how to get a screening appointment.

The blog will be of interest to people who have diabetes and is also a useful tool for healthcare professionals. It includes links to videos about diabetic eye screening in 25 languages, and information in an easy-read format and in plain English.

We also published a blog by Anne Marie Collins, Midwife Colposcopist/CMM2 answering questions for women who are invited for colposcopy. The blog explains what women should expect at colposcopy, what happens during the appointment and how we can support women during this examination.

Men’s Health Week 2024: men’s health counted

Our Public Health Specialist Dr Alan Smith took part in a webinar alongside former rugby star Rob Kearney on Monday 10 June to promote healthy living among men.

The event was part of International Men’s Health Week, which ran from 10 to 16 June. This year’s theme was ‘Know Your Numbers' and the key message to everyone was that men's health counts.

During the week, we promoted our screening programmes for boys and men and highlighted screening as a practical step people can take to look after their health. We worked closely with the HSE Health and Wellbeing team and supported Men’s Health Week with a campaign on social media, a partner pack, and HSE-wide internal communications.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the message that men’s health counts and encouraged your male friends and family members who are eligible to #ChooseScreening.

Save the dates

  • CervicalCheck Conference 2024: Fostering partnerships in cervical screening - Saturday 19 October 2024
  • Diabetic Retina Screen Conference, Radisson Golden Lane, Dublin 8 – Friday 8 November 2024

More news in brief

Here is a selection of other blogs we published in June:

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