Healthcare professionals' views following implementation of risk stratification into a national breast cancer screening programme
AffiliationThe Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Rd, Manchester, M20 4BX, UK
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AbstractBackground: It is crucial to determine feasibility of risk-stratified screening to facilitate successful implementation. We introduced risk-stratification (BC-Predict) into the NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) at three screening sites in north-west England from 2019 to 2021. The present study investigated the views of healthcare professionals (HCPs) on acceptability, barriers, and facilitators of the BC-Predict intervention and on the wider implementation of risk-based screening after BC-Predict was implemented in their screening site. Methods: Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with HCPs working across the breast screening pathway at three NHSBSP sites that implemented BC-Predict. Thematic analysis interpreted the data. Results: Three pre-decided themes were produced. (1) Acceptability of risk-based screening: risk-stratification was perceived as a beneficial step for both services and women. HCPs across the pathway reported low burden of running the BC-Predict trial on routine tasks, but with some residual concerns; (2) Barriers to implementation: comprised capacity constraints of services including the inadequacy of current IT systems to manage women with different risk profiles and, (3) Facilitators to implementation: included the continuation of stakeholder consultation across the pathway to inform implementation and need for dedicated risk screening admin staff, a push for mammography staff recruitment and guidance for screening services. Telephone helplines, integrating primary care, and supporting access for all language needs was emphasised. Conclusion: Risk-stratified breast screening was viewed as a progressive step providing it does not worsen inequalities for women. Implementation of risk-stratified breast screening requires staff to be reassured that there will be systems in place to support implementation and that it will not further burden their workload. Next steps require a comprehensive assessment of the resource needed for risk-stratification versus current resource availability, upgrades to screening IT and building screening infrastructure. The role of primary care needs to be determined. Simplification and clarification of risk-based screening pathways is needed to support HCPs agency and facilitate implementation. Forthcoming evidence from ongoing randomised controlled trials assessing effectiveness of breast cancer risk-stratification will also determine implementation.
CitationHawkins R, McWilliams L, Ulph F, Evans DG, French DP. Healthcare professionals' views following implementation of risk stratification into a national breast cancer screening programme. BMC cancer. 2022 Oct 12;22(1):1058. PubMed PMID: 36224549. Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC9555254. Epub 2022/10/13. eng.