Breast screening teams at Kettering General Hospital have been given a pat on the back for wiping out appointment backlogs created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Units nationwide stopped work on routine screening during lockdown between March and June 2020 while infection-control measures meant fewer appointments were available for months afterwards.
But medical and admin staff, working seven-days-a-week, carried out thousands of extra appointments to catch up so that 90 per cent of county women aged between 50 and 70 have been offered screenings within the three-year target.
KGH programme manager, Deborah Black, said: “It was an enormous challenge but our staff worked extra shifts for two years to get back on track.
“Their dedication and commitment to the breast screening programme at Kettering has been inspirational, I can’t praise them enough.
“Some women now get an open invitation and are able to book appointments to ensure it is convenient. That means people do not cancel as often and screening sessions have all slots used up.”
KGH chief executive, Deborah Needham, added: “This will be reassuring news for women who are due for a screening appointment.
"A lot of hard work has meant they will get their three-year routine appointments on time.”
Hospitals continued to see patients who are symptomatic — for example, a woman who finds a breast lump and is referred to hospital by her GP — throughout the pandemic. Only routine screening for non-symptomatic patients was temporarily suspended in 2020.
A hospital spokesman added that anyone who feels they may have missed out on an appointment can contact the breast screening unit at KGH.