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North East Scotland Breast Screening Programme (NESBSP) 



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The North East Scotland Breast Screening Centre covers Grampian (excluding Forres), Orkney and Shetland.

The Centre is temporarily based in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).  The breast screening service together with the breast symptomatic service will relocate to the Baird Family Hospital in 2023.

Women resident in Aberdeen and within an 18 mile radius of the city centre will attend for screening at ARI.  Two mobile units serve the remaining areas of Grampian, Orkney and Shetland.

Why we Screen

The main objectives of the programme are:

o   to detect breast cancers as early as possible leading to better prognosis and the possibility of minimal breast surgery

o   to encourage breast awareness while minimising anxiety among the general public


Screening Pathway

The Scottish Breast Screening programme routinely invites all eligible females between the ages of 50 and 70 years, who are registered with a GP Practice for screening.  Screening is offered every three years and women should receive their first invitation before their 53rd birthday.  

Women are invited Practice by Practice over a 36 month period for routine screening.

In addition safeguarding reports identify 

  1. women who have reached the age of 53 and have not been screened, 

  2. women who have previously been screened and have not received an invite for mammography outwith the 36 month screening round and 

  3. Women aged 71 years who have not had their final screen within the 36 months

Women attending for screening have two views taken of each breast at all screening rounds.  Mammograms not of appropriate quality are repeated (Technical Recall).  All mammograms are reported by at least two appropriately qualified film readers who are trained in interpreting breast screening images in line with national guidelines.   Women with satisfactory mammograms are returned to routine recall and re-invited in 3 years. 


A small percentage of women whose mammograms indicate a possible abnormality are recalled to the Assessment Clinic in Aberdeen, which is led by a Specialist Clinical Team.  Counselling is available, if required, from specialist breast care nurses, for women undergoing assessment.  Assessment may include further mammography, ultrasound and biopsy procedures and a clinical examination.  Following investigation if there is no abnormality found, women are returned to Routine Recall.  Women diagnosed as requiring treatment will have their diagnosis and treatment plan explained at a Results Clinic by a designated Consultant Breast Surgeon following discussion of their case at a Multidisciplinary Team Meeting.


Due to the coronavirus, the option for women over 70 to refer themselves to the breast screening programme has been paused.  This is only temporary, and it's so those who've had appointments delayed can be seen as soon as possible.  Work is currently being done to increase the number of appointments, and more updates will be provided when they're available.  It's important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and that you report any concerns you have to your GP. 



Below is the GP Practices in the NESBSP catchment.  This gives a guide as to the year we expect to screen those GP Practices.  

Please note that due to the Screening Programme being paused as a result of Covid-19, the dates of screening GP practices is likely to have slipped.

USEFUL LINKS – Breast Screening


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