A TEESSIDE health care trust has issued a message to patients across the Tees Valley to attend their breast screening appointments using the power of proposition.

Whoppers, bazookas, bangers, puppies – what do you call yours?

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have released a series of videos featuring their staff explaining what name they give to their breasts. The evocative campaign, they say, aims to ‘get people talking’ in a language they all understand.

Lindsey Robertson, chief nurse for the trust, said: "This year been an exceptionally different year for everyone, and since March, we have had to change the way we work to support continued patient care whilst dealing with the pandemic.

"This message is about our staff coming together and talking to the Tees Valley in a fun, cheeky way which will hopefully have the impact we want.

"The campaign does have a serious undertone – do not wait, do not delay – if you are due a screening, book in and attend. If you have any concerns – we are here."

The video featuring medics, nurses and support staff from across the Stockton and Hartlepool hospitals is fronted by Professor Jane Metcalf whose own family has been impacted by breast cancer.

Professor Metcalf explains how both her mother and her male cousin had the disease. Urging the public to attend their screening appointments, whilst offering reassurances about how safe it is to come in she issues the plea ‘the screening programme has literally saved lives – if you are invited in for a screening, please attend, the hospital is safe’.

North Tees and Hartlepool was the first trust in the region to re-introduce screening post wave one of the Covid-19 pandemic back in July, which they say has dramatically helped to reduce their backlog.

Dr Naveed Altaf, consultant radiologist and director of breast screening, said: "We moved to a new appointment system back in September called open appointments. Women are sent an invitation letter explaining that they are due for their mammogram. They can then ring the department to arrange an appointment. This allows them to book at a time and date of their own convenience, giving them more flexibility."