Bowel screening in Scotland restarts today
Monday 12 October 2020
The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, which was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will resume today (Monday 12 October).
The screening programme invites people between the ages of 50 and 74 living in Scotland for bowel screening every two years. Screening was suspended after careful consideration of the risks, including for people asked to attend follow-up investigations, such as colonoscopy appointments, as a result of their bowel screening.
As part of the wider remobilisation of the NHS, bowel screening kits will begin to be posted out again, and people who were sent a screening kit before the pause are now also being asked to complete and return them.
Bowel screening colonoscopies have also resumed for those whose test results need further investigation.
A range of additional safety measures have been put in place to allow staff and patients to adhere to physical distancing, staff will wear necessary personal protective equipment and there will be staggered appointments to ensure quieter waiting areas.
Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK, says: "Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it is often more easily treated so we're really pleased that it is being restarted in Scotland from today.
"Since screening was paused in Scotland in March, many thousands of people have not received their invitations for bowel screening and the stark reality is some people will lose years of their life as a direct result of a later diagnosis.
"Bowel cancer is Scotland's second biggest cancer killer but it's treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed early. While we all clearly understand the massive impact the pandemic has had on the NHS, getting back on track with screening now will help to save lives, and we urge all over 50s to complete it."
Public Health Minister for Scotland, Joe FitzPatrick, said: "The temporary pause of adult national screening programmes was one of a series of difficult decisions we have had to make in responding to the impact of COVID-19.
"I welcome the restart of the bowel screening programme, and I would urge everyone who is sent a bowel screening kit to return it – including people who received their kit before the pause in March.
"The safety of patients and staff will be our priority as we continue to deliver the national screening programmes during and beyond the Covid outbreak."
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