Patients living in the most deprived parts of Glasgow will have to fork out to travel into the city centre for life-saving mammograms.

Mobile breast screening units have been removed from supermarket sites in Easterhouse, Shettleston and Parkhead after NHS bosses took the decision to relocate them to more ‘rural’ areas.

The Glasgow Times understands the mobile fleet has now been sent to sites in Killin, East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Greenock and Port Glasgow to help ease waiting times.

However, one outraged patient whose identity we are protecting, says she simply cannot afford the added expense of commuting into the heart of Glasgow.

She added: “The entire purpose of the mobile units is to make it easier for women to be screened without having to travel outwith their local area. Having the burden of added travel costs when people are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis seems very unfair. 

“Most of these units were based in the most deprived areas of the city and now people are expected to fork out for a bus or train fair in these times of austerity. I think it’s outrageous that we are being landed with this extra cost. What happens if you simply cannot afford it or are unable to travel due to a disability?

“I understand that women in more rural areas need access to breast screening too but surely one unit could still be left to travel around the outlying areas of Glasgow. It really is adding more financial pressure on to people at the worst possible time.”

The Glasgow Times has seen a letter by NHS bosses outlining their reasoning behind the decision to relocate the mobile units.

It states: “The breast screening service was paused for 20 weeks at the height of the pandemic. At that point, breast screening resumed, and to ensure clients faced equitable waits, the service decision was to base the mobile units further afield and offer clients closest to the static location in Nelson Mandela Place in Glasgow city centre, the opportunity to attend there.

“Capacity was increased in the static centre to accommodate additional clients in a timeous manner. Unfortunately for some clients, this has meant the offer of a breast screening appointment in Nelson Mandela Place, which is readily accessible by many modes of public transport rather than an appointment at a mobile screening unit as would have been previously offered.”

John Mason, MSP for Shettleston, says that while the NHS is facing considerable backlogs, more should be done for those unable to travel for treatments or potentially life-saving appointments.

He told the Glasgow Times: “The NHS is under real pressure at the moment, so I understand that they cannot provide the same services as we had pre-Covid.

“For most people, travelling to the city centre should not be a problem, but perhaps some special arrangements need to be made for those who cannot make the journey without some difficulty."

It’s understood the service change is not permanent and that the mobile fleet may return to Glasgow next spring.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added: “Unfortunately the pandemic impacted the delivery of the breast screening service for around 20 weeks which caused an increase in the numbers of clients waiting for their three-year scan.

“As the service recovers, to ensure all patients have equal access to screening, the decision was taken to move some mobile units further afield to help more remote clients.

“This decision was taken purely to reduce waits for all patients. In the meantime, capacity has been increased at our static centre in Glasgow to accommodate additional clients, however we apologise for any inconvenience caused to patients who may have additional travel to make their appointment.

"Clients should be assured this change to the service model is temporary - current projections estimate a more normal usage of the mobile fleet may be possible from spring of next year.”