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Published Tuesday 10 Oct 2023

Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast & Hutt Valley is set to open a new dedicated breast screening site in Masterton to help improve people’s access to quick and easy mammograms in the Wairarap

Located at 70 Chapel Street in Masterton, the new site which opens on 16 October is the second of three planned for Greater Wellington with a Wellington Central site having opened in August, and a Kāpiti site to open in in 2024.

“Like other Te Whatu Ora districts, we are continually monitoring our services and looking at how we can make improvements to better serve our people and communities,” said Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley acting group director operations Hospital and Specialist Services Jamie Duncan.

“Through this monitoring, we found that people needing screening were not being served as well as they could be through our mobile screening service – people did not have certainty about where and when they could get a mammogram, because they had to wait for the mobile unit to be in their neighbourhood, and some people with a disability couldn’t physically access the mobile unit.”

 As a result, work began in 2020 to change the way breast screening was provided for people, whānau, and communities across Greater Wellington – Wairarapa, the Hutt Valley, Wellington, Porirua, and Kāpiti.

“We realised that the key to improving access was to move away from mobile screening and establish fixed sites. This ensures people can get screened close to their home, have certainty about appointments, and can be screened year-round. This will enable us to increase the number of people we screen in a timely manner.

Considerable effort has also been put into exploring options to improve medical imaging technician (MIT) recruitment and retention and Regional Screening Services has established a new Breast and Cervical Equity Team that works across Greater Wellington to improve screening uptake and address access inequities and other barriers for Māori, Pacific, and disabled people.

“Our number one priority is the continued delivery of safe services and care, and patient safety and wellbeing is at the heart of all our decisions. These new sites represent an exciting opportunity to improve the care and support that we provide and to help keep our people, whānau, and communities well.”

Photo: Mammographer Dawn Ruttenberg [left] and Lead MIT Yvonne Clarke.