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Health: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 215170, tabled on 31 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 7 of the National Audit Report's investigation into the management of health screening, published on 30 January 2019, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all adult screening programmes meet their standard coverage target set by his Department in 2017-18.

Answered on

5 February 2019

The Department holds NHS England to account for the delivery of all adult screening programmes through regular Section 7a accountability meetings where the three organisations review all the key performance indicators for the functions of the S7a agreement including screening coverage data, with a focus on review to any service improvement initiatives and mitigating actions NHS England has put in place where there is underperformance.

NHS England agrees contracts with providers of adult screening programmes to deliver the targets set by the Department, and NHS England manage these contracts to deliver the required performance. National and local levels of performance are measured to reduce variation in local levels of performance.

NHS England also works closely with Public Health England and the Department and charities on campaigns to boost the proportion of the eligible population that attend for screening. These campaigns aim to increase awareness of the importance of screening.

The Long Term Plan published in January sets an agenda to improve uptake of screening and ensure that all screening and vaccination programmes are designed to support a narrowing of health inequalities.

Furthermore, NHS England announced in November 2018 that Professor Sir Mike Richards will lead a review of the national cancer screening programmes. The review, expected to report by summer 2019 will include recommendations about how best to maximise uptake of screening, and iron out variation in uptake rates between different geographical areas and different population groups.

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