News posted 20 April, 2020

COVID-19 response statement

Impact of COVID-19 measures on our programmes

Programme Lead Dr Mary Wilson outlines how the NBIA is responding to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on training programmes.

Impact of COVID-19 measures on our programmes

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of measures have been introduced which will have an impact on our NBIA trainees and their training programmes.  These include:

  • The postponement of the routine NHS Breast Screening Programme in many Breast Units
  • The need to follow social distancing and isolating rules to prevent further transmission of the virus
  • The transfer of breast imaging training and supervisory staff to help deliver frontline clinical services.


Together with Health Education England, we have therefore prepared the following information about the likely impact:


Mammography Associate apprenticeships:

As the majority of routine breast screening has stopped and most Breast Units are only seeing patients who have been triaged as highly suspicious for cancer, there are fewer opportunities to continue training apprentices. If applicable, apprentices on programme will be contacted about ‘breaks in learning’. New intakes of apprentices scheduled for later in 2020 are being reviewed and, depending on how the situation unfolds, may be postponed.


Radiology fellows:

Cohort 1 – for fellows already in post, the impact will vary in each host Trust. In some cases, fellows have been asked to support the local coronavirus response while in other areas there is less impact at the moment. However, we anticipate that this will change in the coming weeks.


Cohort 2 – recruitment has closed for the 2020/21 cohort but no decision has yet been taken about the scheme.  Factors such as host sites needing to redeploy funding, changes in breast services meaning it is not possible to deliver the curriculum and travel restrictions for overseas candidates will all affect whether the 2020/21 fellowships go ahead.  We will update candidates as soon as we have further information.


Trainee breast clinicians:

For those not yet in post, there is the option to defer the start date until September. For trainees already in post, the training opportunities will be limited for the reasons outlined above and also there is a high likelihood that they will be redeployed.  Decisions will be made at a local level by the trainee breast clinician and their employing Trust.


Help and information

We will do our very best to keep everyone informed and please look out for updates on our website and social media.


If you have any queries or concerns about your training programme and need advice, please get in touch with your local line manager or mentor initially. The NBIA team is also happy to help where possible with any question you may have – please contact us at


Thank you for your understanding in this unprecedented situation.


Dr Mary Wilson

Consultant Breast Radiologist, Nightingale Centre, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and NBIA Programme Lead.