Bowel Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 20th October 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to provide, how many patients have been awaiting bowel cancer screening; and what the average delay in weeks has been for patients waiting to receive bowel cancer screening in (a) the North West and (b) the UK in each month since March 2020.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Bowel screening service providers across the country took the decision to delay invites for routine screening during the first wave of COVID-19 to protect patients and support the redeployment of staff to respond to the pandemic. As a result, there were delays in sending routine invitations.

There are currently 1.7 million participants awaiting an invitation to the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England, of which 283,000 are in the North West. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not collect data on the average delay in weeks for patients.

All 64 NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Centres are now issuing routine invitations and in September 2020, nearly 400,000 routine invitations, compared to an average of 370,000 per month prior to the pandemic, were sent as centres work to get back on track.

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