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Local Review of Breast Screening Services within Public Health Wales

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales is the independent inspectorate and regulator of healthcare in Wales. As part of our role, we maintain an overview of each of the three NHS Trusts in Wales.

We committed to undertake work in each of the Trusts during 2019-20. Public Health Wales is one of the three Trusts and runs Breast Test Wales, which provides the NHS breast screening programme in Wales. Breast screening is routinely offered to all women living in Wales aged 50-70. 

The women who are invited for screening are asymptomatic (there are no symptoms) and only a very small number of women who are screened go on to receive a positive cancer diagnosis. Understandably, it can be an anxious time for women whilst waiting for screening results, so there should be a minimal wait to receive them.

We undertook a review to assess how Public Health Wales ensures the breast screening process is managed in a timely way for women who have an abnormal screening mammogram. We considered the journey through screening services from the initial appointment for screening, up to where a decision is made regarding transfer onto a Health Board for treatment.

The final report of the review is published below. It is important to highlight that this review and fieldwork were undertaken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and publication of this report delayed due to measures we took to reduce the burden of our work on services during the height of the pandemic. As such, the review has not examined in any way how Public Health Wales has undertaken its role during the pandemic.