Health: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 7 of the National Audit Report's investigation into the management of health screening, published on 30 January 2019, what steps his Department is taking to improve the coverage of adult health screening programmes provided by clinical commissioning groups, in particular for (a) abdominal aortic aneurysm and (b) bowel screening.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan published on 7 January 2019, the Government is investing £487 million in healthcare technology to improve patient care and reduce staff workload. The plan is underpinned by a five-year funding offer, which will see the National Health Service budget grow by over £20 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24.

The NHS Long Term Plan expects the NHS to ensure all screening programmes are designed to support a narrowing of health inequalities and NHS England is taking major steps to make sure the delivery, performance and oversight of screening services meet the high standard NHS patients rightly expect.

- National abdominal aortic aneurysm screening coverage in 2017/18 was 5.5 percentage points (80.5%) above the acceptable standard, however commissioners continue to work with providers where performance dips below standard to improve coverage.

- The bowel screening programme coverage in 2017/18 was 59.6% against a standard target of 60%. NHS England is working closely with key partners including Public Health England to shortly implement the change in the current test used within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme from the gFOB test to Faecal Immunochemical Test. Evidence shows that this new test is more accurate and will result in improved uptake rates.

NHS England is working with clinical commissioning groups and screening units to maximise coverage of eligible men and women in their target population who are not registered with a general practitioner and subsequently not called for screening.

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