Concerns over shortage of breast cancer scan operators at Doncaster hospital

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Health bosses have warned of their concerns over a shortage of experts to carry out mammography tests in Doncaster's hospitals.

Concerns were raised over the number of mammographers - staff who operate mammography machines which are used to scan tissues as part of the breast cancer screening process.

They explain the procedure to patients, position the patient in machine, and observe the scanning process.

The issue was raised as a concern at the meeting of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust governors meeting earlier this year, with the meeting hearing there was an insufficient number of mammographers.

The risk surrounding the shortage was rated at 20 - or extreme.

A spokesperson at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said action was being taken to deal with the issue.

The trust said in a statement: “Like many trusts across the country, recruiting skilled mammographers is proving challenging, especially given recent demand for the service. To address this, we are looking to work alongside partners to ensure work force gaps are addressed and patients are safely screened.”

It was one of two shortages which were raised at the same meeting.

'Extreme' concerns were also raised over a lack of CPAP machines - or continuous positive airway pressure machines - which are used to treat sleep conditions arising from patients being unable to keep their upper airway open properly during sleep.

The hospital is now looking at a number of solutions.

Moira Hardy, director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the trust, said: “Since this report, we have put in place a number of actions to ensure our Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are available for use. In order to address any long-term issues, we are looking to purchase five new machines in the near future, however this service remains safe for patients.”