Breast screening teams at Northampton General Hospital have been given a pat on the back for wiping out appointment backlogs created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Units nationwide stopped work on routine screening during lockdown between March and June 2020 while infection-control measures meant fewer appointments were available for months afterwards.
But teams working seven-days-a-week carried out thousands of extra appointments to catch up and 90 percent of county women aged between 50 and 70 have been offered screenings within the three-year target.
NGH programme manager Louise Ward said: “This was a tremendous team effort.
"Some of our staff have been working seven days a week and in the evenings to help us catch up.
“They have shown amazing dedication and done everything they can to make sure non-symptomatic women get their routine screening appointment every three years.”
NGH chief executive Heidi Smoult added: “I am extremely proud of our team for this amazing recovery of the local programme.
“The whole team demonstrated and overwhelming dedication and went the extra mile to ensure that local women are screened as early as possible. This work will help detect early cancers and could save lives.”
Hospitals continued to see patients who are symptomatic — for example, a woman who finds a breast lump and is referred to hospital by her GP — throughout the pandemic. Only routine screening for non-symptomatic patients was temporarily suspended in 2020.
A hospital spokesman added that anyone who feels they may have missed out on an appointment can contact the breast screening unit at their local hospital.