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Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Redfern Baroness Redfern Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the uptake of checks for breast, bowel, and cervical diseases; and whether they intend to publish guidance to NHS trusts in England about ways in which such trusts can increase the uptake of such checks.

Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England is committed to improving the uptake of national cancer screening programmes, for breast, bowel, and cervical cancer.

In January, NHS England published its Long Term Plan, which outlined its ambition to deliver improvements in the uptake of national cancer screening programmes. To support this process, NHS England has developed improving uptake action plans, which can be used by providers and the wider health system, to improve the performance of screening programmes.

The uptake action plans include proposals for reviewing and extending appointment hours (for example for breast cancer screening) and using data to inform strategies for improving uptake in those populations of greatest need. These plans are already available to commissioning teams and will be updated and reissued throughout the year.

National Health Service regions are currently developing implementation plans to deliver on these commitments. To provide robust oversight and assurance of delivery, NHS England has established national programme boards for each cancer screening programme area.

In addition, we expect the Sir Mike Richards’ Review of Screening report, due to be published soon, to identify additional opportunities to improve the uptake of breast, bowel, and cervical screening.

Further, Public Health England has been running ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns since 2011. These are designed to raise the public’s awareness of specific cancer symptoms; encourage people with those symptoms to go to the doctor; and diagnose cancer at an earlier stage, and therefore make it more treatable, and thereby improve cancer survival rates.

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