Bowel cancer screening expansion 

28/09/2015 00:00 

The UCLH Bowel Cancer Screening Centre offers FOBt bowel cancer screening to patients aged 60-74 who are registered with a GP and live in North Central London. It performs around 800 colonoscopies and diagnoses around 30 early stage cancers per year.

The screening centre works collaboratively with the London Hub, based at St. Mark’s Hospital. The hub manages the invitation process which includes the processing of “FOB” tests (which assess the local population for the presence of blood in stools).

FOB-positive participants are then brought to UCLH for a nurse-led assessment and further treatment as appropriate. Around one in 10 people with a positive FOB will go on to be diagnosed with a cancer.

In 2010, the government announced its commitment for Bowel Scope Screening to be rolled out across the country by 2016. This programme is to run alongside and complement current FOBt screening. The government has committed to invest £60 million between 2011 and 2015 in order to save 3,000 lives a year.

The programme involves a one-off bowel scope, or flexible sigmoidoscopy being offered to those aged 55 to look for and remove any polyps, thus eliminating any potential cancerous growths.

Participants who have missed or declined the invitation for a bowel scope, e.g. a patient who is 57 years of age, can self-refer by calling the London Hub and/or the Screening Centre directly.

Meanwhile bowel scope is being rolled out. Local preparation has included sourcing physical space to scope closer to home and, establishing associate sites at the Whittington Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital.

Roll out plans have been developed, attaching CCGs to specific sites – so residents will be offered the procedure at a site closest to home. There has also been extensive work on recruiting and training additional endoscopy workforce.

We started our first list at the Whittington in May 2015 (which was comprised of Haringey residents from 16 GP Practices) and are hoping to complete full roll out over the next two years, attaching a new cohort of GPs each time we are ready to introduce a new list. All CCGs and GP practices will be individually contacted before invites are sent out to their patients. More detailed information can be found here.

Contact: Avril van der Loo, Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Manager, avrilvanderloo@nhs.net , 020 3447 5521.

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