This article aims to estimate the workforce and resource implications of the proposed age extension of the national breast screening programme, under the economic constraints of reduced health budgets and staffing levels in the Irish health system. Using a mixed method design, a purposive sample of 20 participants were interviewed and data were analysed thematically (June-September 2012). Quantitative data (programme-level activity data, screening activity, staffing levels and screening plans) were used to model potential workload and resource requirements. The analysis indicates that over 90% operational efficiency was achieved throughout the first six months of 2012. Accounting for maternity leave (10%) and sick leave (3.5%), 16.1 additional radiographers (whole time equivalent) would be required for the workload created by the age extension of the screening programme, at 90% operational efficiency. The results suggest that service expansion is possible with relatively minimal additional radiography resources if the efficiency of the skill mix and the use of equipment are improved. Investing in the appropriate skill mix should not be limited to clinical groups but should also include administrative staff to manage and support the service. Workload modelling may contribute to improved health workforce planning and service efficiency.
Trinity College Dublin ->