Breast cancer tests return to Barrow

Patients will no longer have to make long journeys for breast cancer diagnoses with the opening of a clinic in Cumbria.

For the past few years patients have had to travel from Barrow to Lancaster for tests because of a shortage of staff at Furness General Hospital.

From Friday, the symptomatic breast clinic has returned to the Barrow hospital as part of a £250,000 upgrade.

It comes after a campaign to return the service to Cumbria.

Lyn Hiseman was one of those who had to travel to Lancaster.

She said: "People understand that they have to go to specialised hospitals for different treatment but not for the normal treatment.

"It should have been at Furness and I am glad it's back at Furness."

Community pressure

The breast screening unit at Furness General Hospital opened last month following a refurbishment and equipment upgrade.

The breast clinic means patients can have all the tests they need in one place, including being seen by a specialist, having a mammogram and an ultrasound scan if needed.

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust medical director George Nasmyth said: "People who need to attend a clinic like this will no doubt have enough anxiety without adding an hour or so journey to that so I am delighted that, by working with NHS Cumbria and the local GPs, these clinics are now back up and running in Barrow."

Cumbria County Council health scrutiny chairman Bill Wearing said there had been a lot of community pressure.

He said: "I think the people who should be feeling really pleased are the population of the Furness area. I think it's a win-win situation for them and let's just celebrate."

Dr Geoff Joliffe, lead GP in Barrow, said the issue had been caused by the difficulty in recruiting radiologists.

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