On Thursday I met with clinicians and managers on the breast screening team, to discuss their decision to remove the mobile breast screening unit from Fleetwood. This afternoon I’m meeting with Health Minister Ed Argar.
I’m absolutely firm in my belief that this is the wrong decision – as is Fleetwood’s public health lead Dr Mark Spencer.
We’ve joined forces to write to the Director of Breast Screening for the North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme to express our grave concerns.
We believe it’s wrong that Fleetwood women, living in one of the most deprived areas of the country, are being expected to travel between 10 and 38 miles by public transport to attend a breast screening appointment in either Blackpool or Lytham.
Given the poor public transport links, and the travel costs, many women say they simply won’t be able to attend their appointment.
Fleetwood has below average car ownership and above average numbers of people on low incomes. Life expectancy is closely related to people’s socio-economic circumstances. The most common measure of these circumstances across a population is deprivation – and both Fleetwood and Over Wyre have some of the most deprived wards in the UK. We believe that it’s unfair Fleetwood and Over Wyre face health inequalities not experienced by other, more affluent towns along the Fylde Coast.
We are still unsure why this decision has been taken so we’ve asked for further information in the letter below.
In the meantime as well as meeting with the Health Minister this afternoon and I’ll be raising the issue on the floor of the House of Commons this evening.
As the advert says – Early Detection Saves Lives, and everyone’s life should matter equally, regardless of where they live.