Andrew Percy – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Percy on 2015-12-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme; and what steps he is taking to increase uptake of such screening among (a) men, (b) people living in deprived areas, (c) ethnic minorities and (d) all people.

Jane Ellison

The UK National Screening Committee recently consulted on the use of Faecal Immunochemical testing (FIT) as an alternative screen test for bowel cancer. Initial results of the FIT pilot, indicates that this test is more acceptable to the screened population with a significant increase in participation (10%). This is particularly marked amongst men and disadvantaged groups.

At the end of January 2015, 25 million faecal occult blood test kits had been sent out to men and women aged 60-74 to self-sample at home. Over 15 million kits have been returned by post to one of five regional laboratories (programme hubs). Over 21,000 cancers have been detected and over 122,000 patients have been managed for polyps, including polyp removal.

Public Health England (PHE) Screening held a national workshop engaging various organisations to discuss inequalities in accessing screening programmes.

The national workshop was attended by colleagues from local authorities, the Department of Health, PHE, National Health Service and cancer research UK. The day looked at current knowledge about the extent of inequitable access, what works to improve access for those in deprived and protected groups, how existing levers might best be used and by whom.