Vandals strike at unit

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THE only breast cancer screening unit in the Five Towns has been closed after it was hit by vandals on three occasions in three months.

Health chiefs at NHS Wakefield District say the mobile unit at Castleford’s Riverside Surgery has been shut after it was targeted by metal thieves on three separate occasions between May and July.

But resident Alison Drake, chariman of Castleford Heritage Trust, is calling for the unit to be reinstated to stop patients being sent to Wakefield and Leeds for routine checks.

She said: “I’m absolutely furious – it’s the only unit in the Five Towns. Why do we always lose out?”

Dr Graham Sutton, consultant in public health, said the primary care trust was “very disappointed” the actions of vandals had resulted in the “temporary loss” of the service.

He added: “Despite our best efforts we could not justify keeping this expensive and sensitive equipment in an area where it was continually the target of criminals. When the decision was made to remove the unit women who were still to attend for their screening appointment were offered venues at Rothwell, King Street Health Centre in Wakefield and Seacroft Hospital.

“An alternative venue is being sought for the next screening period, in May 2012 – one that is both more convenient for local women and more secure. In the longer term, there are plans to include a static breast screening unit in a new health centre provision in Castleford.”