Increasing the uptake of breast screening in Tower Hamlets

LTP Priority: Cancer

Population Intervention Triangle :Segments (link to Section 1 PHE PBA): Service

Type of Intervention: Increasing the uptake of breast screening in Tower Hamlets

Major driver of health inequalities in your area of work

Unwarranted variation in breast screening rates.

Target groups

  • Deprivation and Protected groups – Black and Minority Ethnic Groups


Increasing the uptake of breast screening in Tower Hamlets.


In 2005/06 Tower Hamlets had one of the lowest breast screening rates in England. To tackle this, NHS Tower Hamlets took a whole systems approach to ensure that the breast screening process was client-focused.

Interventions were developed to address three different groups involved in the breast screening process:

  • The client (eligible women) – To encourage them to attend breast screening
  • The enabler (primary care) – To improve their role in encouraging eligible women to attend breast screening
  • The provider (Central and East London Breast Screening Service) – To make appropriate local changes to the breast screening service to make it client-focused

Specific interventions were focused on white British/Irish and Bangladeshi women, particularly from lower socioeconomic classes, who had been identified as having especially low breast screening attendance rates. Interventions were piloted from 2008 and included two marketing campaigns, community outreach and service improvements.


Between 2006/07 and 2009/10, breast screening rates in Tower Hamlets increased by 13.6 per cent. Rates varied across participating GP practices, with a high of almost 80 per cent in one practice – a first for Tower Hamlets.

See the MSNC website for more information outlining the project.