Guidance

Breast screening: quality assurance guidelines for breast pathology services

NHSBSP publication No 2, second edition: guidelines for generating consistent pathological data from breast screening services.

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The quality of pathology services is central to the delivery of high-quality breast screening services, because the definitive diagnosis of cancer and its subsequent classification are in most cases determined by pathologists.

In addition to their role in monitoring the breast screening programme and supporting patients and their treatment, pathology data contribute to surgical, radiological and pathological audit, future pathology review, cancer standards audit, and clinical research. The quality of these data depends on the expertise of pathologists and the techniques and reporting methods they employ.

To generate high-quality pathological data and achieve the standards required by the NHSBSP, pathologists need to be able to draw on appropriate managerial and administrative support and rely on robust quality assurance (QA) processes.