Screening restart: Guidance for safe service provision during Covid-19 pandemic and post pandemic phase

Screening restart: Guidance for safe service provision during Covid-19 pandemic and post pandemic phase | The Society and College of Radiographers | Royal College of Radiologists

The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR), in collaboration with the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), has produced this joint guidance to support the restarting of screening services involving imaging during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document offers guidance to members and providers. It supports ‘paused’ or ‘stopped’ services to recommence safely, protecting staff and clients.

The guidance within this document is to inform local policy decisions with regard to the delivering of screening services, to ensure that providers meet government recommendations, while still providing client-centred care within the challenging environments of the COVID-19 pandemic and post pandemic (endemic) stage. All staff should work to the same local policy, to provide a consistent service to clients.

Full document: Screening restart: Guidance for safe service provision during Covid-19 pandemic and post pandemic phase

Breast screening programme

Breast Screening Programme, England 2018-19 | NHS Digital |  30 January 2020

Women between the ages of 50 and 70 are invited for regular breast screening (every three years) under a national programme. Screening is intended to reduce mortality by detecting breast cancer at an early stage when there is a better chance of successful treatment.

This report presents information about the NHS Breast Screening Programme in England in 2018-19 and includes data on women invited for breast screening, coverage, uptake of invitations, outcomes of screening and cancers detected.

The publication also features an online interactive dashboard to complement the existing publication resources.

Full report: Breast Screening Programme England, 2018-19 | NHS Digital

Further detail at NHS Digital

Cervical cancer could be eliminated says NHS England

Hundreds of lives will be spared every year in England thanks to a more sensitive cervical screening test rolled out as part of the NHS Long Term Plan | via NHS England

NHS experts said that there is “potential” to eliminate cervical cancer completely thanks to the change in primary test within the NHS Cervical Cancer Screening Programme, combined with the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.

The new and more sensitive test now looks for traces of high risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Any tests that are HPV positive are then checked for abnormal changes of the cervix.

HPV is a group of viruses with more than 100 types, but 14 types can cause cervical cancer as well as some head and neck cancers. It means that any sign of infection will be spotted at an earlier stage before it could potentially develop into cancer.

Since the beginning of December, every part of the country has had the new way of screening in place. There are 2,500 new cases of cervical cancer in England every year but research says that a quarter of those could be prevented with this new way of testing.

The introduction is part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions to catch tens of thousands more cancers earlier, when it is easier to treat and the chance of survival is higher.

Full detail “Potential to eliminate” cervical cancer in England thanks to NHS Long Term Plan  | NHS England

78 NHS trusts to receive new cancer screening machines

78 trusts will receive funding for new machines that will improve patient experience and lead to earlier diagnosis | via Department of Health and Social Care

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is one of 78 trusts that will benefit from funding for new cancer testing and detection technology.  The new machines will improve screening and early diagnosis of cancer, and are part of the government’s commitment to ensure 55,000 more people survive cancer each year.


Last month the Prime Minister announced the extra £200 million in funding for new cancer screening equipment. 78 trusts will receive funding over the next 2 years to replace, refurbish and upgrade:

  • CT and MRI scanners – bringing in alternatives with lower radiation levels
  • breast screening imaging and assessment equipment

Replacing and upgrading machines will improve efficiency by:

  • making them easier to use
  • being quicker to scan and construct images
  • reducing the need to re-scan

This new equipment also brings new capability, with many machines enabled for artificial intelligence (AI) so the NHS is ready for the challenges of the future.

Each trust has been allocated funding for new machines based on an assessment of local infrastructure and local population need. They will all contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of catching three-quarters of all cancers earlier when they are easier to treat.

Full story at Department of Health and Social Care

See also: Full list of trusts that will receive funding.

Adult screening programmes review

Report of The Independent Review of Adult Screening Programmes in England | NHS England 

This report makes recommendations for overhauling national screening programmes to improve earlier diagnosis and cancer survival.  It calls for people to be given much greater choice over when and where they are screened; increase uptake through social media campaigns and text reminders; and roll out local initiatives which have boosted uptake.

Full detail at NHS England

See also: NHS England news release

Breast cancer: Call for genetic screening for all

Study, published in JAMA Oncology looked at data on 11,800 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, US and Australia, with findings suggesting that breast cancer genetic screening would save hundreds of lives each year | story via BBC News


Offering every woman diagnosed with breast cancer genetic screening would save hundreds of lives each year, according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology.  Currently, only those with risk factors such as a close family history of breast cancer are offered the check. The analysis suggests one year’s testing could save 2,102 cases of breast and ovarian cancer and 633 lives in the UK.

The research says screening everyone would enable women to make informed treatment choices and allow family members to take preventative action. It would also be cost-effective for the NHS, they say.

Full story at BBC News

Full research paper: Sun L, Brentnall A, Patel S, et al. | A Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Multigene Testing for All Patients With Breast Cancer |  JAMA Oncology | Published online October 03, 2019

Early cancer detection and survival to be prioritised by NHS

Monitoring one-year survival will be central to measuring progress in transforming cancer care, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced.

Screening programmes will be overhauled and diagnosis made faster and more accurate with new state-of-the-art technology as part of a blueprint for rapidly improving cancer detection and survival the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Health and Social Care Secretary set out how the NHS will deliver on its commitments to improve early detection of cancer.

In January, the NHS Long Term Plan set the ambition for three-quarters of all cancers to be detected at an early stage and 55,000 more people surviving cancer for 5 years each year by 2028. The Implementation Framework, agreed by the NHS, provides a blueprint for how this will be achieved at a local level. The one-year metric will be used to measure progress.

Steps in the framework include:

  • a radical overhaul of screening programmes
  • new state-of-the-art technology to make diagnosis faster and more accurate
  • more investment in research and innovation
  • the roll-out of new Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country, building on the success of a pilot scheme with Cancer Resarch UK
  • NHS England extending lung health checks, targeting areas with the lowest survival rates
  • Health Education England increasing the cancer workforce, which will lead to 400 clinical endoscopists and 300 reporting radiographers by 2021

The document sets out the framework through which each of the 300 commitments in the Long Term Plan will be delivered – including the 20 headline commitments – as well as how government will monitor and support systems at a local level.

Full detail at Department of Health and Social Care

(Interim Report) Independent Review of National Cancer Screening Programmes in England

NHS England | May 2019 | Independent Review of National Cancer Screening Programmes in England

This interim report sets out emerging findings of Professor Sir Mike Richard’s review of national cancer screening programmes in England to date.  The final report and recommendations will be published later this year. 

Independent review of national cancer screening programmes in England -Interim report of emerging findings: Professor Sir Mike Richards

Full information from NHS England

In the news:

BBC News ‘Cancer screening should be as easy as booking a flight’


Redesigning cancer screening technology

University of Leeds | April 2019 | Redesigning cancer screening technology

Engineers at the University of Leeds have developed a prototype that could reduce the cost of manufacturing an endoscope from £800000 to £40. The team’s prototype is redesigned to make the endoscope cheaper to make, it is more intuitive to operate. It also does not need sterilising between patients as in this model- a narrow silicone tube and a tiny capsule housing the camera – a part of the device can be disposed after each endoscopy. 

Their innovation also has the potential to revolutionise cancer screening in low-to-middle income countries where the cost of equipment makes screening prohibitively expensive.

Project leader Pietro Valdastri, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Leeds, said the international consortium of engineers had had totally redesigned the endoscope which had remained largely unchanged for the last 60-plus years.

The next stage for the research team is to trial the effectiveness of the low-cost device against conventional endoscopes (Source: University of Leeds)

Read the press release in full from the University of Leeds


Independent Breast Screening Review: government response

Department of Health and Social Care | March 2019| Independent Breast Screening Review: government response
The Department of  Health and Social Care have published the government’s response to recommendations made by the Independent Breast Screening Review.

The Independent Breast Screening Review looked into an incident in the breast screening programme in England, which resulted in thousands of women aged between 68 and 71 not being invited to their final breast screening. The review published its report in December 2018.

This document sets out the government’s response to each recommendation made in the report. The government has accepted all the recommendations.

Full details from the Department of Health and Social Care