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Today’s release of the report entitled “The independent review of adult screening programmes in England” by Prof Sir Mike Richards clearly states that there needs to be easier access to NHS screening programmes in England, including evening and weekend clinics, offered in a wider variety of locations, utilising mobile units.
The government had asked Sir Mike to look at the five adult programmes covering cancer and other conditions, specifically:
Some 15 million people are invited to take part in these screening programmes each year - but just over 10 million take up the invitation. Uptake for bowel cancer screening is lowest, at below 60%.
Promoting convenience is one of the key points made in the report which states:
“These people are most likely to take up screening opportunities if screening could be made more convenient.”
This assumption has been confirmed by researchers at University College London who have shown that around half of non-attenders for cervical screening intended to be screened.
Sir Mike suggests that in order to achieve higher participation rates, which ultimately leads to improved patient outcomes, several changes should be made including:
The report has been widely accepted with NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens saying they were "sensible recommendations" that would be acted on. Macmillan Cancer Support also gave its backing to the recommendations, saying they should be implemented "urgently".