Healthcare professionals’ experiences of caring for women with false positive screening test results in the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme

Hannah Long, Joanna Brooks, Anthony Maxwell, Sarah Peters, Michelle Harvie, David French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Understanding healthcare professionals’ (HCPs) experiences of caring for women with false positive screening test results in the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) is important for reducing the impact of such results.
Methods: Interviews were undertaken with 12 HCPs from a single NHSBSP unit, including advanced radiographer practitioners, breast radiographers, breast radiologists, clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and a radiology healthcare assistant. Data were analysed thematically using Template Analysis.
Results: Two themes were produced: (1) Gauging and navigating women’s anxiety during screening assessment was an inevitable and necessary task for all participants. CNSs were perceived as particularly adept at this, while breast radiographers reported a lack of adequate formal training. (2) Controlling the delivery of information to women (including amount, type and timing of information). HCPs reported various communication strategies to facilitate women’s information processing and retention during a distressing time.
Conclusions: Women’s anxiety could be reduced through dedicated CNS support, but this should not replace support from other HCPs. Breast radiographers may benefit from more training to emotionally support recalled women. While HCPs emphasised taking a patient-centred communication approach, the use of other strategies (e.g. standardised scripts) and the constraints of the ‘one-stop shop’ model poses challenges to such an approach.
Patient and Public Contribution: During study design, two Patient and Public Involvement members (women with false positive breast screening test results) were consulted to gain an understanding of patient perspectives and experiences of being recalled specifically in the NHSBSP. Their feedback informed the formulations of the research aim, objectives and the direction of the interview guide.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Expectations
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • breast cancer
  • breast screening
  • mammography
  • false positive screening test results
  • qualitative
  • interview

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