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Patient engagement on the future of Breast Diagnostic Services in South Tees


In 2019/20 NECS worked with South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group in the planning and delivery of a twelve-week patient/public engagement exercise, listening to service users experience of Breast Diagnostic Services and how they work for patients in the South Tees area.

The engagement explored how people felt about the Breast Diagnostic Service at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, temporarily moving to University Hospital of North Tees due to an inability to recruit breast radiologists and provide a safe and sustainable service.

The temporary move had continued for a number of years. What was the impact of this on patients in South Tees? Patient engagement on the future of Breast Diagnostic Services in South Tees


We wanted to talk to individuals about:
• Their experience of the service at North Tees
• Their understanding of the definition of breast services
• The current service including why the service was removed from JCUH
• What happens elsewhere in the country
• The barriers that may exist that prevent women from attending their appointments and how improvements can be made

A strategy and supporting action plan were delivered agreeing key aims/objectives, milestones and messaging, working closely with the CCG in agreement with the local authority Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The key objective was to fully understand the needs and priorities of patients using breast diagnostic services, as well as the views of other relevant stakeholders, that feed into any future planning around service models.

In order to achieve this, a number of different engagement methods were employed:
• Wider public and stakeholder events
• Targeted focus groups with service users who had experienced the service invited via the survey
• Targeted focus groups with local breast support groups
• Postal survey targeting all those who have accessed the Breast Diagnostic Service at University Hospital of North Tees since 1st January 2019.


A full stakeholder mapping exercise was carried out and a supporting communication plan developed with a raft of communication activity including, web content, news posts, press release, poster, flyer, social media schedules and messaging and stakeholder briefing. An Independent report was commissioned and delivered to the CCG outlining research, analysis and recommendations.

View the full case study here: Breast Diagnostics Engagement Case Study