Contact your GP if you are aged 50-70 and have not received a mammogram reminder, your GP can refer you for screening. If you are concerned about a possible breast lump or any changes in your breast, please also arrange an appointment with your GP to see if a referral is necessary.
If your GP feels that a referral to the breast clinic is needed you will be offered a choice of breast service providers for assessment and diagnostic procedures. This is where you will have all tests and receive a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Historically, women – and men – in Salford could choose to go to Salford Royal for this service, or choose a number of other hospitals in the surrounding areas including Bolton, Pennine and Wythenshawe.
However, this breast service has moved to the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, providing a more reliable service for Salford patients. This Centre provides a ‘one-stop’ service for all patients, where all tests are carried out, analysed and discussed with the patient in one initial appointment. Patients can still choose other breast service providers. Since April 2016, most patients are choosing the Nightingale Centre, with the Bolton Royal Hospital and North Manchester Hospital being the next most popular services.
Why did the service move to the Nightingale Centre?
The Breast Service team at Salford Royal has provided care and compassion to hundreds of patients over many years, a reputation evident from the numerous patient and family testimonials and leading them to win the ‘Improving Personal Care Award’ at the 2015 Salford Royal Staff Awards.
However, from 1st April 2016, NHS Salford CCG agreed that the Salford Breast Service could move to the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.
This was because the Breast Service at Salford Royal, while providing excellent care, was one of the smallest units in Greater Manchester. The service faced an increasing patient demand and experienced the unforeseeable loss of several members of staff (e.g. illness, moving on to other posts). Most significant was the loss of the service’s ‘second reader’ of mammograms – a key feature of safeguarding clinical safety. In summary, the safety of the breast service provided by Salford Royal could no longer be guaranteed and this prompted the need for quick and decisive action by the CCG and breast clinicians and managers at Salford Royal.
Our priority is to commission high quality and safe services for the people of Salford – but sometimes it is not possible to have those services in Salford itself, especially when relying on specialists who are in short supply. Staffing challenges for breast services are not unique to Salford. There is a national shortage of breast radiologists and radiographers.
In addition, NICE guidance is that breast services should not be provided from services which do not also provide breast screening as part of the National Breast Screening Programme. Both Bolton FT and the Nightingale Unit are large providers of breast screening and breast care services.
What is the Nightingale Centre?
The Nightingale Centre is Europe’s first ever purpose-built combined breast cancer prevention and treatment centre based at Wythenshawe Hospital on Southmoor Road in Wythenshawe. It has been awarded the prestigious “Macmillan – Quality Environment Mark”. The Centre also provides the UK’s largest Family History Clinic.
In the first six months of the move of the service, breast cancer waiting time targets are much better than last year. Salford patients referred with suspected breast cancer were seen wihtin two weeks 95% of the time. For referrals where cancer is not suspected, 93% were seen within two weeks (which is the national standard). Read more about the Nightingale Centre.
Patient experience feedback on the Nightingale Unit is very good. The NHS Choices Reviews web site shows all ratings for the breast service as 5 out of 5.
What about if I was already a patient at Salford Royal?
If you have attended breast clinic appointments at Salford Royal before the service moved, your future appointments will now take place at the Nightingale Centre. Every effort will be made for you to see the same doctor as you’ve previously seen.
You will be contacted by the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital in due course with details of your future breast clinic appointments. However, in the meantime if you require any further information regarding your future appointments, please contact The Nightingale Centre directly on 0161 291 5120.
How do I get to the Nightingale Centre?
The Nightingale Centre is 11 miles from Salford Royal and a six-minute walk from a Metrolink stop. The CCG seriously considers the impact travelling for appointments can have for patients on what is already an anxious time. However, there are a number of services in place to support patients in getting to such appointments if they do not have their own transport. This includes:
- Being There, a charity with a network of trained volunteers who provide emotional support and practical help for people living with or affected by cancer – including transport to hospital appointments. Salford CCG provides £55k every year to the charity.
- Patient Transport Service, run by the North West Ambulance Service, for eligible patients.
- Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), which allows people to reclaim travel costs, if eligible.