MSP Jackie Baillie on the campaign trail for Breast Cancer causes.
By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, has raised concerns over new Government figures which cover breast cancer screening attendance.
Statistics published this week by the IDS on attendance at the Scottish Breast Screening Programme have revealed a lower level of appointment uptake amongst women from the most deprived areas.
The figures highlighted that only six out of ten women from the most deprived areas attended breast screening, compared with almost eight in ten women who live in the least deprived areas.
The local health board, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, had the lowest uptake figures of all Scottish Health Boards for women coming from the three greatest deprivation categories and was below the Scottish average for uptake across all five deprivation categories.
Breast Cancer screening programmes have been temporarily paused due to covid-19. This has led to a 72% drop in the number of urgent cancer referrals.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “These figures are deeply worrying yet largely unsurprising. It is already known that women from more deprived backgrounds are less likely to attend breast cancer screenings.
“My constituency has some of the most deprived areas in Scotland – as well as some of the wealthiest.”
She added: “Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board are under-performing in terms of screening uptake for all women is a concern, and it is even more worrying to see it having the lowest uptake numbers of any health board for the most deprived women in our communities.
“This cannot be allowed continue. It is literally a life or death situation.”
Ms Baillie, who has campaigned consistently over the years for Breast Cancer causes, added: “I have repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to ensure that more is done to encourage women to attend these vital screenings and that no one falls through the cracks.
“In Scotland, in 2020, it is utterly unacceptable that cancer treatment, care and survival is still dictated by a postcode and wealth lottery. That it is down to where you live.
“I understand that screenings have been paused in order to allow for health professionals and resources to be focused on beating covid-19.
“But this doesn’t mean that women will not still be developing breast cancer.
“I hope to see the Scottish Government doubling its efforts post-covid to ensure that all those who missed screenings and referrals during this crisis are taken care of – regardless of where they live.”