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OBJECTIVE: To elicit women's preferences for delivery of the National Health Service (NHS) Breast Screening Programme. DESIGN: Interview survey. SETTING: Private households in the UK. POPULATION: Five hundred and ninety-seven women aged 45-75 interviewed as part of the National Statistics Omnibus Survey, December 2008 and January 2009. OUTCOMES: Preferred setting (hospital or community) and preferred type of screening unit (mobile or permanent). Rated importance of distance, time, convenience and cost of travelling to a screening unit. RESULTS: Forty per cent of women did not mind whether the screening unit was based in a community or hospital setting, and 52% did not mind whether the unit was permanent or mobile. Among those who expressed a preference, 59% preferred a hospital to a community setting, and 62% preferred a permanent to a mobile unit. Many women (63%) said distance to a breast screening unit was an important factor, as was time to travel (58%). Among those with access to a car, 80% regarded the availability of parking as important, but only 40% regarded the cost of car travel as important. Among women with no access to a car, there was a similar pattern for ease of public transport (76%) and cost of public transport (48%). CONCLUSIONS: Many women were unconcerned about the type and setting of breast screening units. Among those who were concerned, most preferred hospital over community settings and permanent over mobile units, but nonetheless most women said time and distance were important. Well-situated units with advanced publicity about public transport links and parking facilities may encourage greater uptake.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Screen

Publication Date





176 - 180


Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Mammography, Middle Aged, National Health Programs, Patient Acceptance of Health Care