Bowel screening in Wales temporarily paused
Screening for conditions including bowel and breast cancer have been suspended by the Welsh Government.
The temporary pause will affect Breast Test Wales, Cervical Screening Wales, Bowel Screening Wales, Diabetic Eye Screening Wales and Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “As we face the challenge of dealing with this pandemic, the well-being of the people of Wales is my top priority.
“Many people who attend screening programmes are in a higher-risk category for coronavirus and it is essential that we minimise risk to those people at this time.
“This is a temporary suspension and we will resume these programmes at the earliest opportunity when it is safe to do so. In the meantime I would urge anyone who may have symptoms of some of the conditions that we screen for, to contact their GP.”
Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We fully appreciate that our severely overstretched NHS is facing unprecedented demand at the moment. We know that the Welsh Government, along with senior NHS colleagues will not have taken the decision to pause the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme lightly.
“There are a number of reasons why NHS health boards requested this pause, including the reallocation and availability of staff over the coming weeks and months. This is not an ideal situation, but at times like these we need to be pragmatic and we hope the service will resume as soon as it safe to do so.”
Screening is for people without symptoms. It is important that if you are worried about any possible bowel cancer symptoms you still contact your GP. GPs are being asked to increase their use of phone and video consulting so people don’t need to go into the surgery.