BreastScreening - Mammography Update

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Number: D36/2017

Date: 19 July 2017

Relevant: Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Topic: BreastScreening - Mammography Update

A number of requests have recently been made by community members for an update on the purchase of the mammography machine.

Following Bulletin D4/2017 dated 9 February 2017, the Department has continued to work with BreastScreen WA to improve mammography services to Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI).

Based on the nine month timeframe expected to complete the procurement cycle (end 2017), capital funding has been allocated in 2017–18 for the purchase of the new machine for CI (a Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Unit). The Department also looked at whether the new machine for CI could be air-freighted to CKI on alternate years to deliver the two-yearly mammography service. This approach was proposed to provide similar services to vehicle-based mobile mammography services delivered in regional areas of WA and the NT.

The Department has worked with Breastscreen WA to determine the most efficient procurement of the recommended equipment. On 28 April 2017, the Department received confirmation from BreastScreen WA that they were unable to procure the machine on the Department's behalf. Consequently, the Department has obtained quotes from Siemens for the purchase and ongoing servicing of the machine.

Procurement has been delayed following recent advice from Siemens that the machine could not be supported for ongoing servicing if it was transported between the islands. As such, the Department is reviewing the availability of additional capital funds to purchase two Siemens machines, in order to deliver the improved services to the communities of both CI and CKI. The Department expects to finalise approvals for procurement within a month, after which a contract will be negotiated and a delivery timeframe will be advised by Siemens.

As previously committed, the Department will provide updates on the delivery timing once an order has been finalised. Subject to further advice from Siemens, delivery is still expected to be towards the end of 2017.

In the interim, the IOT Health Service and BreastScreen WA advise women who may be visiting Perth or elsewhere on the mainland in the near future to arrange a screening mammogram with BreastScreen Australia. This is a free service through the national screening program and is provided to women who do not have any breast symptoms. Appointments can be made by calling 13 20 50.

BreastScreen WA also provides instructive guidance on breast health on their website at: www.breastscreen.health.wa.gov.au/Breast-health/Breast-awareness. A brief guide to breast health, titled The Little Pink Book, is also available to download from their website.

If you have any concerns about your breast health, please contact the IOT Health Service to make an appointment with a doctor. The IOT Health Service will continue to provide patient assisted travel to Perth from CI and CKI where a doctor has identified clinical breast cancer symptoms and recommends a ‘diagnostic mammogram’.

I look forward to providing you with further updates on the mammography services.

Karly Pidgeon
General Manager
Indian Ocean Territories