Put screening units near shops & offices, U.K. expert urges

To boost take-up for cancer screening, it's vital to locate centers close to shops and offices, a leading U.K. cancer specialist stated in a recent article in the Daily Telegraph.

"One of the things we really need to do is promote convenience, offering more out-of-hours appointments -- places you can get your screening done at 8 p.m. -- and services nearer to where people work so that they can do it in their lunch break," said Dr. Sir Michael Richards, former national cancer director for the U.K. Department of Health.

Reports show that cancer survival rates in England lag behind those of most nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and uptake for screening services has declined in 2018, with cervical screening at its lowest rate in 21 years, the article noted.

One way healthcare providers can reverse this trend is to overhaul the way services are currently run and, instead, follow the practices of modern businesses, Richards said in the interview with the Daily Telegraph. Richards has been commissioned by health officials to lead a review of screening programs in the nation and is scheduled to publish an interim report in April.

Roughly half of the individuals who meet screening eligibility criteria but do not undergo an exam intended to participate in screening, he said. There is the issue of staff and equipment shortage, as well as a lack of convenience for screening, he added.

National Health Service (NHS) screening units should consider setting up near offices and shops so that individuals can stop by for breast and bowel cancer screening during their lunch breaks, and "everybody could be booking these services through an app," Richards said. "In all other branches of life, we have moved to convenience. ... This is what is happening in the rest of people's lives, and this is what should be happening in screening."

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