PERFORMANCE: The breast screening age across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire has been extended ahead of the Department of Health’s deadline.

In December 2007 the DH announced that by 2012 the NHS Breast Screening Programme would be expanded to cover women aged 47 to 73, meaning women would receive their first screening invitation before the age of 50 and would get two extra screening invitations in their lifetime.

North Staffordshire Breast Screening, which also covers the Stoke-on-Trent area, has started to phase in the earlier age from this month. Women will be randomly selected for screening between the ages of 47-49 and 71-73.

Screening service health promotion specialist Jane Kirby said: “Initially we will invite just some of the women from the new age groups but eventually all women in the age groups specified will be included. All women aged 50-70 will continue to get their screening invitations as normal.”