A THREE month programme to determine whether the temporary closure of Breast Services at a North-East hospital has affected patients four years later has been launched.

The NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched the exercise to gauge opinions of patients in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland after a vital service moved from the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough in 2015.

The Northern Echo:

The Breast Symptomatic Service was transferred to North Tees Hospital in Stockton after the NHS identified an inability to recruit breast radiologists.

The Middlesbrough Health Scrutiny Panel raised concerns that some constituents felt 'disadvantaged' by the move and requested the CCG sought the views of service users.

The commissioning group carried out patient engagement in 2017, but has since launched the second exercise to gain the views of patients who have used the service since January 2018.

An NHS spokesperson said: "Women or men with suspected breast cancer following an appointment with their GP are referred into the specialist breast service and offered a triple diagnostic assessment in one single hospital.

"The triple assessment involves a clinical examination, mammography and taking a sample of breast tissue.

The NHS is keen to build on previous patient engagement undertaken and understand how patients from the South Tees area are accessing breast symptomatic services, any barriers to service, what ‘good’ looks like to them in order that they can build a more detailed picture of the service and feed this into work ongoing across the region that is looking closely at the way breast services are organised.

"The CCG is providing a range of opportunities to help people get involved to ensure we gather feedback concerning the impact of the change in 2015.

"These include, a patient survey going out to all patients who have accessed the service at North Tees Hospital since January 1, 2018, targeted focus groups, an online survey and wider public events."

  • The survey can be accessed via southteesccg.nhs.uk or by emailing NECSU.engagement@nhs.net