West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Councillor expresses shock after woman 'turned away' from mobile breast screening unit

Published: 5 September, 2017

West Tyrone Sinn Féin Councillor Glenn Campbell

West Tyrone Sinn Féin Councillor Glenn Campbell

West Tyrone Sinn Féin Councillor Glenn Campbell has said he was shocked to learn that a woman, who was concerned about her health, was recently turned away from a mobile breast screening unit outside Omagh Library.

According to Cllr Campbell, the woman, from West Tyrone, had been advised by her doctor to visit the unit the same day and was told when she arrived that she could not access the service because she was not aged 50 years or older. Speaking to the Ulster Herald, Cllr Campbell said,

"This woman was understandably very upset to be refused access to the service. She has had concerns now for 3 months and wanted to access the service to put her mind at ease. She had been advised by the NHS that it could be 9-12 months before she is seen at Altnagelvin Hospital. That, in itself, is totally unacceptable. But to be then turned away from the mobile unit beggars belief."

The woman, who is 46 years of age, was told she must be 50 years old or over to access the service. Cllr Campbell continued,

"I have sought clarity on why staff at these units are advised they cannot admit women under 50 years of age. It is my understanding that people over 50 are invited to attend these mobile clinics via their GP. However, I think it is unreasonable that woman under 50 who have reasons to be concerned, as in the case highlighted, are being turned away.

"I have also raised my concerns at the length of time that such patients are being forced to wait to see consultants. This is prolonging the stress that patients are under and many will suffer unnecessary anxiety before receiving assurances that they are not at risk. Obviously, in cases where an early diagnosis is key, a delay in being seen by specialists will be putting lives at risk."

Concluding Cllr Campbell said, "In relation to the breast screening unit, I would stress that I do not want to attribute blame on the staff at the mobile unit They have obviously been told to turn away those who are under 50. I understand the unit was extremely busy last Monday, and it is good to see this service being fully utilised. But there needs to be accommodation for women under 50 and I have stressed this point in my communication with the Western Trust."

ENDS

Notes to Editor: See attached image Cllr Glenn Campbell can be contacted on 07748158909