Mobile site selection

Overview of the BreastCheck mobile unit site selection

There are four regional centres responsible for the delivery of BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme. These are the BreastCheck Eccles Unit, BreastCheck Merrion Unit, BreastCheck Southern Unit and BreastCheck Western Unit 1. Not all eligible women wish or are able to travel to one of these four screening units. An important principle for the BreastCheck programme is to offer screening services locally to women in counties and locations convenient to where they live. To achieve this each of the four screening units operates in tandem with mobile digital screening units. The majority of women participating in BreastCheck actually have their mammogram in one of these mobile units.

BreastCheck Mobile Unit

Over the last 10 years BreastCheck has developed and refined an objective and standardised approach to selecting potential sites for a mobile screening unit. Each of the four screening units utilises the same approach. This primarily involves the screening unit management, the technical input from the physics and ICT departments supplemented by the local knowledge acquired through experience and by our screening promotion officers who work closely with community networks.

  • The process begins at least six to nine months before a site is required with a careful review of the geographical counties and electoral wards to be covered in the screening round. Specifically this phase is concerned with identifying the geographical location that has the greatest potential to serve the maximum number of eligible women taking account of population densities, transport routes and general accessibility.
  • The next step in the process is the actual identification of a viable site capable of meeting the needs of eligible women - primarily access - balanced against the multiple technical and operational requirements to ensure that the screening programme can deliver a safe and quality assured service. Appendix 1 lists a sample of the many client, technical and operational criteria involved.
  • To date mobile screening units have been sited in a range of locations nationwide including public and private hospitals, business and retail parks, county council and civic offices, community centres, libraries and occasionally shopping centres. The variety of sites that have been utilised reflects the fact that there is no single ‘perfect’ location. The needs of eligible women, the technical and operational requirements of the programme and achieving the correct balance between each of them will vary dependent on the particular county, city or town land in question.
  • It is somewhat inevitable, given the complexity of the process, that some site selections may be criticised on the basis that there is a view that there is another more suitable site. Comments and feedback to the programme have contributed to refining the site selection process. However the programme’s experience to date has clearly demonstrated that there is no perfect site location and compromises have to be made to ensure a ‘best fit’ against the multiple criteria listed in Appendix 1, to maximise participation in the BreastCheck programme and ultimately achieve best outcomes for women.

1BreastCheck Eccles Unit - covering north Dublin (and County Dublin), Cavan, Carlow, Kilkenny, Longford, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Westmeath
BreastCheck Merrion Unit - covering south Dublin (and County Dublin), Kildare, Laois, Wexford, Wicklow
BreastCheck Southern Unit  - covering Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary South, Waterford
BreastCheck Western Unit - covering Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary North

Appendix - Mobile Site Selection Criteria (PDF 46kB)