AS we are constantly told, early detection is key to suc- cessfully treating cancer. It is the reason why mobile screening units are so vital in the local community and must be supported.
Siting services in places such as supermarket car parks is not just easier for the health service, it is far more convenient and less intimidating for women.
With some big stores already hosting banks, chemists, post offices, opticians and even dental surgeries, it is natural to concentrate other health services around them.
Those with appointments can combine the visit with a trip to the shops so there is also an added incentive for the supermarket chains.
Which is why our story today about the row over a unit in the Morrisons car park is so unbelievable.
The company has, to its credit, supported the service for many years along with several other supermarkets in the city.
Exactly what happened on this occasion and why there was an apparently sudden demand for public liability insurance and a clean-up fee is not entirely clear.
But the result has been that 1000 appointments have had to be changed, leading to fears that some may be missed.
When early detection is key, that is clearly a very real concern.
Asda deserves praise for agreeing to host the unit but there is no doubt that the Jewel – as an out-of-town shopping centre – is a less convenient location for many.
Morrisons has told us that the fees should have been waived and that the unit is welcome back, which is great news. The important thing now is to ensure this does not happen again at any other location.
We certainly hope that by highlighting this case, there will be no similar issues and that the crucial work of the screening team can continue.
Providing the trailer can be accommodated, the team should be able to operate in whichever location they deem to be the most appropriate to ensure they can reach the largest number of people.
These tests can and will continue to save lives. They should not be threatened by red tape.